OWWA offers hotlines, counseling to OFW-victims of bullet-planting
DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in Southern Mindanao said it has opened a service to extend comfort and counseling, aside from legal assistance, to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) falling prey to the extortionist scheme “tanim-bala (bullet-planting)” in airports.
“Aside from the legal service, we will visit them at police precincts if they are detained, as well as visit the homes of their respective families,” said Eduardo Bellido, OWWA director for Southern Mindanao.
“We lend assistance to them because of the trauma they may experience,” Bellido told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone, on Wednesday.
Bellido said OWWA personnel have been deployed at the F. Bangoy International Airport here to see to it that OFWs would not be placed in unnecessary harm due to the scheme of planting bullets in their bags or luggage by unscrupulous airport personnel.
He said they have not been remiss in informing the workers of the “do’s and don’ts” when leaving the country for work.
“In our pre-departure orientation seminar, we tell them about what not to bring such as illegal drugs, firearms, bullets and things prohibited to carry onboard,” he said.
Bellido said the practice of some OFWs to bring bullets as their lucky charm or amulets has been unfortunate.
“They don’t know that it can spell trouble for them, so we keep on advising them against carrying bullets,” he said.
Bellido also advised OFWs to keep a close watch on their bags and luggage and, if necessary, “cover it with plastic and use padlocks.”
In case of trouble, Bellido said an OFW could call the following OWWA hotline numbers: OWWA 24/7 Operations Center – (+632) 551-6641) (+632) 833-6992 (+632) 551-1560 (0917) 898-6992 OWWA Davao Hotline Numbers – (0917) 701-1135 (082) 221-8593 (082) 227-9536. SFM
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