DOLE warns OFWs bound for Australia vs. pornographic materials.

Manila, Philippines – Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz warned all OFWs bound for Australia, whether the latter is a final destination or transit point, to clean up their laptops or cellphones of any pornographic materials, especially those involving minors, as this is a serious offense under the Australian federal and state criminal law.

Baldoz issued the warning after Australia-based Labor Attache Jalilo O. dela Torre reported to Secretary Baldoz that three OFWs had already been arrested with child pornographic materials on their cellphones and laptops by Australian Customs and Border Protection authorities during the first quarter of 2012.

“Australia is very serious in protecting itself from these illegal offensive materials that those who attempt to bring these goods into Australia face investigation, prosecution and penalties, including jail time,” Baldoz said.

The law also prohibits pornographic materials in CD and DVD form,” she added.

The maximum penalty for such offense is $275,000 and/or 10 years imprisonment. Any OFW caught and convicted with such prohibited material may also banned from ever coming back to Australia to work.

“Another OFW has been arrested in Western Australia this week. He is presently detained and awaiting trial,” dela Torre said in his report to Baldoz.

Baldoz said it is important for OFWs going to Australia to be aware of immigration laws to avoid problems with authorities.

“I have already instructed the POEA and the OWWA to intensify its information dissemination efforts to inform recruitment agencies deploying workers to Australia on its child pornography law and the repercussions of violating this law. I have directed POEA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac and OWWA Chief Carmelita Dimzon to include this in the conduct of their Pre-Departure Orientation Seminars,” Baldoz said.

For their safety, Badoz advised OFWs never to download anything from the Internet which could be considered child pornography, and to delete such material if they happen to receive such prohibited material through MMS or email because mere possession of such is already considered an offense under Australia law.