In a joint statement issued last March 18, the same day Filipina Maria Cecilia Silva was released from jail, the Australian Customs and Australian Federal Police called the incident “regrettable”.
They confirmed the decision by the Magistrate Court of Melbourne ordering the release of Silva after the result of forensic testing on the iced tea packets she brought to Melbourne proved negative for drug traces.
The Court awarded her Australian$5,000.
The Philippine Embassy in Canberra, in a media statement, urged the Australian Customs to implement measures to ensure that similar mistakes do not happen in the future. The Embassy said it does not only cause distress to the person involved, but also to the relatives back in the Philippines.
For her part, Silva conveyed her thanks to Consul General Uriel Norman Garibay for the quick assistance, coordination and close monitoring of her case.
Silva arrived at the Melbourne Airport on March 13. She was detained by Australian Police on suspicion of bringing into the country the prohibited drug amphetamine allegedly inside iced tea packets.
The Police allowed her to call the Philippine Embassy through Consul General Garibay who assured her that the Embassy will extend to her all the necessary assistance.
The Embassy then advised Philippine Honorary Consul General to Melbourne, Raul Hernandez, to visit Ms. Silva and to coordinate with the Australian authorities for the speedy resolution of her case.
The Embassy also called Silva’s sister in the Philippines to inform her of the situation.
The Embassy, the Philippine Honorary Consulate, and Ms. Silva’s friends in Melbourne coordinated closely to work on her immediate release.
13 November 2009
MANILA- Here is a bit of breather for overseas Filipino workers and their families.
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Marianito Roque foresees that as the world economies recover in 2010, demand for OFWs will be sustained in traditional markets such as the Middle East, Guam, HongKong and in emerging markets such as Canada, Australia, Korea, Macau, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Caribbean Islands, Slovenia, and Croatia.
Demand for Filipino seafarers overseas will also be sustained despite closure of some shipping lines in Japan and other countries, he likewise predicts.
Roque stressed on Thursday that the prospects for better employment situation both for local and overseas will receive further boost from spending and activities for the national elections in 2010. These, he said, are seen to make a significant dent on unemployment which stands at 7.7 percent compared to 7.4 percent posted in January last year. Among the regions, the highest unemployment rate was recorded in the NCR at 14.0 percent during the same period, according to National Statistics Office (NSO) Labor Force Survey.
He said the employment prospects for Filipino workers will offset job losses that may arise in the manufacturing sector that may be affected by contraction in exports. He said joblessness in this sector that may result from reduced exports would have minimal impact on the overall employment picture as employment in this sector constitutes only 8.3 percent of the total 35.5 million employed persons in the country.
Roque is optimistic that efforts to sustain the “resiliency” of the economy coupled with continued demand for OFWs and election activities are expected to buck joblessness and pave for a brighter employment situation in 2010.
He further said the employment picture in the country in 2010 is seen to be better than this year as the government has already set in place measures to sustain the economic resiliency program to enable the country take advantage of the projected global economic rebound in 2010.
He said the new resiliency program will prepare the country for the projected global upturn in 2010 by focusing on investments in new industries such as renewable energy, the green industries, information and communications technology, and science, technology and innovation which in turn are expected to generate new jobs for the workers. (Gloria Esguerra Melencio)