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Drug syndicates recruit Pinoy ‘mules’ in provinces

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TINGLAYAN, KALINGA — Drug syndicates posing as recruiters often prey on Filipinos living in the provinces, a provincial anti-drug agency warned.

The Provincial Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Task Group (PAIDSTF) said these recruiters often convince unsuspecting individuals to hide drugs inside their body, or carry suspicious baggage, in exchange for huge amounts of money and "sure" work abroad.

PAIDSTF Chief Charles Domallig warned Filipinos wanting to work abroad "to be vigilant against persons who approach them to take baggage, big or small for someone they do not know."

Domallig said it pays to "be suspicious" and to be "wise enough" to resist huge amounts of money from suspicious recruiters.

He added those wanting to work abroad should follow the example of a woman living in Kalinga who almost became a drug mule.

The official said the woman narrated that while she was at a recruitment firm in Manila in 2009 preparing her papers for her flight to China, she was approached by two persons who tried to convince her to swallow five pieces of capsule-size drug in exchange for P200,000.

But the lady decided to reject the offer outright, Domallig said, adding that the lady, a college graduate, was wise enough to avoid becoming a potential drug mule.

According to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, many prospective works abroad and even "veteran" OFWs often fall prey to drug syndicates and become drug mules. The agency said some 689 drug courier cases have been reported in the first half of 2011 alone.

In China, three Filipinos were executed on Wednesday after being convicted of drug smuggling.

***

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