Mary Jane Veloso was not executed, as opposed to the schedule by the Indonesian government on early Wednesday. This was confirmed by Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose. The convicted Filipina OFW was saved in the nick of time after her recruiter surrendered to the local authorities.
However, the execution of the eight other eight convicts continued. This includes four Nigerians, two Australians a Brazilian, and an Indonesian. This is despite the vigil protests and pleas for clemency from around the world. Earlier, the multiple death penalties were condemned by the United Nations (UN).
On Tuesday morning, Maria Kristina Sergio (Mary Jane Veloso’s recruiter) surrendered to the Nueva Ecija Police Provincial Office. She said she has been receiving numerous death threats, so she decided to surrender. President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III also made serious efforts to save the convicted OFW.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who is very vocal in supporting death penalty for drug traffickers, called for an emergency meeting on Tuesday, hours before the scheduled execution will take place. This is to discuss the case of Mary Jane Veloso, who was sentenced to death back in 2010 due to drug smuggling.
The Indonesian government is said to wait for the result of the investigation of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). But while the entire Philippines is hoping that Mary Jane Veloso will eventually be spared from execution, here are five very important lessons all Filipinos who are applying for a job abroad should learn from her story.
Don’t use a bag that you don’t personally own
According to Mary Jane Veloso’s own story, the luggage that contained the prohibited drugs was not hers. It was given to her by the brother of the boyfriend of Maria Kristina Sergio. Note that Veloso has just met him, and she knows nothing about him except his name. Use a bag that you personally bought or own for quite some time.
Always make sure your bag is totally empty before you put your things
According to Mary Jane, she checked the bag’s pockets before she used it. She said it was empty, but admitted she felt it a little bit heavy. When she asked Christine (Maria Kristina), the latter told her that it’s just fine because the bag is new. It was later learned that the bag has 2.6 kilos of heroin hidden in it.
Always have a doubt in good deeds of strangers
It is fine to accept help from strangers. But sometimes, we should also have doubts and ask ourselves why they are offering help especially if you will be entering a country with very strict policies. Filipinos are known to be good in “pakikisama,” but this trait is sometimes being taken advantage of especially by strangers.
Never fall on sweet promises without verifying
Mary Jane said Christine would buy her a ticket that she can pay back later. This is huge problem for many Filipinos who plan to work abroad. They easily fall on sweet promises without verifying the details from the POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration), which has all the list of job vacancies abroad.
Apply only with licensed recruitment agencies
Every now and then, we have been hearing tons of sad stories from victims of illegal recruiters, but many Filipinos are still willing to take the risk. According to the POEA, job applicants should never deal with fixers and should only pay the placement fee after signing the contract with the authorized recruitment agency.
And while TN joins the nation in hoping that the case of Mary Jane Veloso will have a happy ending, her story should not be taken for granted by Filipinos who want to work abroad. The Philippine government has some flaws and will always have, but it is our direct responsibility to follow the law and to protect ourselves.
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