MANILA, Philippines – Mary Jane Veloso, the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who is set to face the firing squad in Indonesia on Tuesday, April 28, wrote letters addressed to the Filipino youth and women so they would avoid what she has been through.
During her family’s visit in Nusa Kambangan Island on Saturday, April 25, Mary Jane handed over 4 handwritten letters – one for Philippine President Benigno Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar Binay, and one for each of the following: Filipino women, Filipino youth, and those responsible for her fate.
To the Filipino youth
In her letter, she shared how 5 years of mingling with people imprisoned for drug addiction taught her many lessons.
“Karamihan sa kanila ay mga kabataan at dahil sa maling pakikihalubilo o pakikipag-barkada sa mga taong gumagawa nang ipinagbabawal na gawain, marami ang nagiging biktima at nalilihis ng landas,” Mary Jane shared.
(Many of them are young. And because of their association with people who do illegal things, many fall victim and go astray.)
A high school drop-out and mother of two, Veloso warned the Filipino youth that many of those she met in prison have stopped studying or have been disowned by their families.
Concluding her letter, Veloso discouraged the Filipino youth from taking drugs.
“Huwag na huwag kayong gagamit ng ipinagbabawal na gamot o magbenta. Walang idudulot na mabuti sa inyo at masisira pa inyong buhay...Kayong mga kabataan ang pag-asa ng ating bayan. Magiging bayani ng ating bansa,” she said.
(Don’t take or sell drugs. It will bring nothing good to your life and will instead ruin it. Remember that the country’s future lies on your hands. You will become the heroes of our country.)
To Filipino women
In her letter to Filipino women, Veloso also advised them not to let dreams of a better life become their downfall.
“Alam ko kung gaano ang hirap ng buhay sa atin kasi isa rin ako sa inyo nakipagsapalaran sa ibang bansa...isa rin akong babae na may pangarap mabigyan ng magandang kinabukasan ang aking mga anak,” she wrote.
(I know how difficult life is because I am one of you who risked working in another country. I am also a woman with dreams of providing a better future for my children.)
She shared how her strong desire to provide a better future for her two sons led her to a blind decision that would later put her very life at risk.
Veloso was referring to how she readily accepted her godsister Kristine Sergio’s job offer in Malaysia, and later in Indonesia, without thinking twice.
In her own narration, Veloso claimed that Sergio gave her a luggage filled with 2.6 kilograms of heroin. She unwittingly became a drug courier. Six months after she was arrested, judges handed down the death penalty.
Veloso doesn’t want other women to face the same fate as hers. This is why, in her letter to them, she discouraged them from leaving the country no matter how hard life could be.
“`Wag na kayong umalis sa ating bansa kahit na mas mahirap ang ating buhay kasama naman natin ang ating mga mahal sa buhay,” Veloso said.
(Don’t leave the country even though life could be difficult, at least you are with the people you love.)
This is Mary Jane Veloso's full letter addressed to the Filipino youth:
Here's the translation of Mary Jane's letter for the Filipino youth into English:
To the Filipino youth whom I love,
I became a victim of drug trafficking due to my desire to provide a better future for my family. I trusted someone who promised me a job abroad. Because of the kindness she showed me, I didn't have suspicions on what her real intentions were.
Drugs were found in the luggage that was given to me by that person. I was arrested by the police and was sentenced to death.
In my five years of imprisonment, I have learned many things. Every day, I mingled with drug addicts, many of them are young. And because of their association with people who do illegal things, many fall victim and go astray. Many of them were disowned by their families, stopped schooling, and got sick. I have also seen people die due to drug overdose.
Don't waster your life. Never take nor sell drugs. It will bring nothing good to your life and will instead ruin you. Remember that the country’s future lies on your hands.
I believe, that by staying away from illegal drugs and other activities, a bright future awaits you. You will become the heroes of our country.
I pray that the Lord will guide you and may God's grace be with you all.
God bless us.
Mary Jane Veloso
Below is Mary Jane's full letter addressed to Filipino women:
Here's the translation of Mary Jane's letter for the Filipino women into English:
To my beloved fellow Filipino women:
I wish to tell everyone, that if you plan on working abroad, do not push through without consulting legal agencies to avoid endangering yourself.
I know how difficult life is because I am one of you who risked working in another country. I am also a woman with dreams of lifting my family from poverty, providing a better future for my children, and sending them to a good school.
Due to my strong desire, I overlooked the fact that I could be endangered in going through the illegal route of working abroad. Somebody offered me a job in another country. She promised that I would be able to work abroad as a maid. However, she said that I had to apply for a tourist visa if I want to start immediately. I never thought that that was the worst decision I could ever make.
To my beloved fellow Filipinas, don't ever allow yourselves to be fooled by illegal recruiters, unlike me who is now five years in prison and who is sentenced death penalty.
I don't want you to experience the hardship I've been through. Thus, don’t leave the country even though life could be difficult, at least you are with the people you love
I pray to God, that through legal means, you will be able successfully find a good job abroad without any problems.
Jesus loves us.
– With a report from Raisa Serafica/Rappler.com