232 out of the 303 Indigenous Bajau People (IPs)  who arrived last Friday (June 4) at the Manila North Harbour Seaport are now homebound for Zamboanga. 71 of them remain in Manila and are currently in a temporary shelter in Quezon City. Among those who remain in Manila, four have been identified to have COVID-19, and are now in a government isolation facility together with 23 other IPs considered as close contacts. The rest of the 44 IPs were found to have legitimate travel purposes and are already being assisted by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). 
All passengers bound for Zamboanga will undergo an antigen swab test and will be provided with shelter, hot meals, and other social services by the DSWD Region 9 upon their arrival.  Prior to their departure, they were likewise provided with various forms of assistance by the DSWD-National Capital Region and the City of Manila.
On June 4, 303 Indigenous Bajau People from Zamboanga and Basilan were rescued from the 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 Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act. Initial investigations show that their travel was facilitated and sponsored by an undisclosed individual. 
The National Bureau of Investigation has been tasked by Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra (as Chair of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking [IACAT]) to conduct an investigation that will take place parallel to the ongoing investigation of the Philippine National Police-Women Children Protection Center (PNP-WCPC). 
As a preventive and proactive approach, the IACAT will further strengthen its Regional Task Forces and review existing travel and security measures at entry points to effectively implement our anti-trafficking laws and better protect IPs and other vulnerable groups.