How many more Mary Jane Velosos?

Update: Indonesia has postponed the execution of Mary Jane Veloso, based on the fact that the accused recruiter had surrendered to the authorities and will face investigation. While it did not commute Veloso’s death sentence, the postponement has granted her and her family a glimmer of hope, a second chance at life, if you will. Now, the ball is on the hands of the Philippine government, the Aquino administration to thoroughly investigate, prosecute and bring to justice the real perpetrators behind the illegal trafficking and using Veloso as a drug mule. Her life, literally depends on it.

In a few hours from now, Mary Jane Veloso, convicted of bringing in illegal drugs into Indonesia will face a firing squad. In a few hours from now, we will lose a compatriot to another country’s justice system. A few hours from now, human trafficking, illegal drug trade and poverty will claim is latest victim. We may not be able to save Mary Jane Veloso from the death penalty. After all, we have to respect the legal system and understand the political and social situation in Indonesia that is the context of this. Ultimately, the outpouring of support from all over the world through the internet and social media for Mary Jane Veloso should be the real “wake up” call for our own government to step up and do better for its citizens.

At home, it must lead the way in creating more opportunities for Filipinos to make decent and livable jobs that would feed their family, send their children to school and contribute to a better Filipino society. It should seriously re-think and stop its decades-old policy of exporting Filipino workers only to rely on their remittances to prop-up an economy that it failed to grow to begin with. Times have changed, remittances is no longer a viable long-term economic solution.

Government must double its efforts in going after human traffickers, drug syndicates and illegal recruiters.

Everywhere abroad, it must step up its efforts in looking after the interests and needs of OFWs. Numerous reports from both media and government have given the number of OFWs in foreign jails. What are the status of their cases? What steps the government, our diplomats and concerned agencies have done in order to save them or at the very least commute their sentences?

How many more times must we all go through all this again only to find out we’re too late? How many more Flor Contemplacions and Mary Jane Velosos must lose their lives?

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