With all the controversy surrounding “Laglag-Bala” bullet-planting extortion schemes in airports, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in Southern Mindanao took the initiative to extend much-needed help for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) who may need legal assistance and counseling.
Eduardo Bellido, director of OWWA for Southern Mindanao said “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.”
Bellido pointed out that being in such a situation can be emotionally disturbing for anyone. “We lend assistance to them because of the trauma they may experience,” he added.
Bellido confirmed that OWWA representatives have already been assigned at Davao City’s Francisco Bangoy International Airport. OFWs who run into trouble could tap their help right then and there in case bullets have been planted in their luggage.
Furthermore, Bellido believes that OWWA have done their best in forewarning the public way before the said scheme have become a national issue. “In our pre-departure orientation seminar,” he said, “we tell them about what not to bring such as illegal drugs, firearms, bullets and things prohibited to carry onboard.”
However, he also pointed out the fact that some OFWs have the superstitious belief of bringing a bullet as their lucky charm or amulet. “They don’t know that it can spell trouble for them, so we keep on advising them against carrying bullets,” Bellido commented.
As a precautionary measure, Bellido also advices OFWs to keep an eye on their luggage all the time and even go as far as using plastic covers and padlocks just to make sure.
OWWA 24/7 Operations Center can be reached through these hotline numbers: (+632) 551-6641) (+632) 833-6992 (+632) 551-1560 (0917) 898-6992. In the meanwhile, OWWA Davao Hotline Numbers are the following: (0917) 701-1135 (082) 221-8593 (082) 227-9536.