Thursday, February 25, 2010

Group warns traveling OFWs vs illegal ‘padala’

The Middle East chapter of a migrants’ rights group on Monday warned returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW) against accepting padala or care packages.

The term padala literally means consignment, in the form of money or goods. In the context of Filipino migration, it has become a tradition among OFWs to send packages of goods to relatives here in the Philippines.

At times, the OFWs’ relatives here ask other OFWs returning to the host countries to carry a package to a family member working there, to save on shipping costs. Similarly, workers ask their fellow OFWs returning here to bring items to the families they left behind.

More recently, however, OFWs have become unsuspecting drug couriers falling prey to syndicates, mostly from West African countries, which ask them to bring packages to their destination countries, unaware that these contain contraband or other illegal items.

Migrante-Middle East thus reminded OFWs to refuse padala from strangers or even friends without checking the content of the package.

“We are asking our fellow OFWs, especially those returning abroad, to refrain from accepting ‘padala’ especially if they have not checked and verified what the luggage, bags and similar items contain," said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante regional coordinator.


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