Overseas Filipino workers have recently become the targets of the alleged tanim-bala (bullet- planting) scam in the country’s airports.
This is why the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) gave the following tips on how the public, especially arriving OFWs can avoid being a victim of such modus or scheme.
Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz is saddened that most of the victims of the “tanim-bala” schemes are OFWs, saying these incidents could saw fear among OFWs, especially those planning to come home for a vacation in the coming holidays.
Because of this, she instructed the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration which has physical presence at the airports to be vigilant also and assist OFWs exiting and entering the country.
According to Baldoz, arriving passengers, may they be OFWs or tourists, need to remember five things in order to protect themselves from the scam.
Tip # 1: Inventory the contents of your luggage before you leave for the airport and keep this inventory with you.
Tip # 2: Show the list to the authorities if necessary before they check or screen your luggage.
Tip # 3: Be alert, careful, and vigilant when it comes to your luggage.
Tip # 4: Hold on to your luggage, or be very close, never away from these, while these are being checked.
Tip # 5: Report any suspicious activity or movement of airport personnel handling their luggage.
OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado expressed confidence that the assigned authority will deal with this concern soon so as to relieve the tensions in the airports.
“It is truly sad that some of our OFWs have been accused of possessing these illegal items,” she said. “In the meantime, I encourage all OFWs to be extra vigilant especially with their luggage. They should never leave their baggage alone, or out of their sight. Always make sure that they carry their luggage at all times and take all the necessary precautions to safeguard their belongings,” Administrator Calzado added.
It has been said that numerous passengers, a number of whom are OFWs, have been apprehended when bullets were allegedly found in their baggage.
Many denied these allegations and insisted they were victims of extortion.
This has become a major issue since a big number of OFWs are expected to arrive in the country for the holiday season to spend time with their families.