June 5, 2021 (Saturday) – 305 Indigenous Bajau People from Zamboanga were rescued on Friday
morning at the Manila North Harbour Seaport. They are victims of alleged violations of the Republic
Act (R.A.) No. 9208 also known as the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, as amended by R.A.
No. 10364, and R.A. No. 7610 or the the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation
and Discrimination Act
 
The IPs were immediately secured and transferred to a processing area (arrival area) upon
disembarkation where they underwent an antigen swab test. Led by the Philippine National Police-
Women Children Protection Center (PNP-WCPC) and assisted by the Inter-Agency Council Against
Trafficking Operation Center (IACAT OpCen) and Department of Social Welfare and Development
(DSWD), 263 passengers were interviewed by the social workers and PNP investigators, 156 of
which are adults and 107 are minors. Of the 263 alleged victims, there are 147 males and 116
females identified.
 
All passengers will be turned over in facility for temporary shelter in Quezon City under the Balik
Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa program by the National Housing Authority, and will be brought back
home to Zamboanga on Sunday via Philippine Navy vessel.
 
In a previous report, personnel from the PNP-WCPC Mindanao Field Unit (MFU) received
information on April 27, 2021, that a group of outgoing Badjao passengers will be traveling to Manila
via plane. On May 5, PNP-WCPC-MFU received another information regarding the presence of
Badjao passengers including 9 minors, traveling to Manila via plane. On May 30, another set of
Badjao passengers including 3 minors, were scheduled to travel to Manila via plane. And on June 2,
the WCPC-MFU received information from Zamboanga Sea-Based Anti-Trafficking Task Force and
PCG that about 340 Indigenous Badjao People passengers were scheduled to depart Zamboanga
via ship that is bound to Manila. The information furthered disclosed that their travel was
facilitated/sponsored by an undisclosed individual.
 
IACAT Executive Director Jinky P. Dedumo said that IACAT, together with the IACAT Anti-
Trafficking Task Forces had coordinated with the concerned agencies and immediately held an
emergency meeting to tackle urgent measures in addressing the situation. The meeting was
attended by the representatives and officials from the DSWD, DOJ, PNP-WCPC, and the IACAT
Secretariat.
 
“We just want to ensure that our fellowmen will not be exploited or abused in whichever form. We
thank all the women and men who supported and exerted efforts to protect our people.” said
Dedumo.

The response was made possible by the said agencies together with the PNP-Maritime, Philippine
Coast Guard, PPA Port Police, PNP- Special Mayor’s Reaction Team (PNP-SMART), Manila City-
Social Welfare and Development, Manila North Harbor Task Force Against Trafficking and
representatives from the National Commission on Indigenous People; and with full support from
DSWD Sec. Rolando Joselito Delizo Bautista, DSWD Usec. Rodolfo Encabo, DSWD Asec Glenda
Relova, and DOJ Sec. Menardo Guevarra, DOJ Usec. Emmeline Villar, and DOJ Asec Nicholas
Felix Ty.