13 suspected human trafficking victims rescued in Zamboanga City

Robie de Guzman   •   December 17, 2019   •   403

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Tuesday reported it has rescued 13 suspected victims of human trafficking at a Port in Zamboanga City.

In a statement, the PCG said the victims, who were all women, were rescued on Monday, December 16 while onboard MV Antonia-1 which was bound for Sandakan, Sabah.

Initial investigation revealed that the majority of the victims came from Luzon, and that the vessel was operated by Aleson Shipping Line Incorporated.

After undergoing a profiling process, the victims were turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development for further investigation and case build-up operation.

Immigration Bureau intercepts 4 human trafficking victims at Mactan Airport

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 12, 2020

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has intercepted four suspected victims of human trafficking at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).

According to BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina, the four women were supposed to take a connecting flight to Dubai from Thailand to work as domestic helpers.

The four women were supposed to board a flight last February 1.

“It appears that the novel coronavirus outbreak has not deterred these syndicates from continuing with their nefarious activities. We are warning their would-be victims that they will not be able to leave, contrary to the promise of their recruiters,” Medina said.

The head of the BI’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) Ma. Asuncion Palma-Gi said the four women initially claimed that they are mere tourists who would be going to Thailand for a vacation.

They later admitted that they were going to Dubai to work as domestic helpers and that they were directly recruited by a certain ‘Ms. Jessa’ from a Dubai-based recruitment agency.

“The four were referred to the MCIA Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for assistance in filing a case against their recruiters,” according to the Immigration Bureau.

The BI reiterated their warning against human trafficking and advised potential victims not to fall for illegal entities.—AAC

Taiwanese POGO employee seeks help after alleged abuse from Chinese employer

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 12, 2020

A Taiwanese national claims she was a victim of human trafficking after she was forced to work at a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) company.

Twenty-three- year-old Taiwanese national Lai Yu Cian or Ivy is seeking help after she was allegedly trafficked into the Philippines. She also reported suffering abuse from her Chinese employer.

“They want me to work for 24 hours, treating me like a slave. I already told them [employers] I want to go home. I want to go back to Taiwan. But they forced me to work for them,” she said.

Ivy said the company took her passport. She also added that her employer sexually assaulted her and threatened her if she sought help from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Ivy also revealed that her Chinese employer has a protector from the government and that she would sometimes hear the name ‘Michael Yang’.

“They always say that they have a protector behind them who is government people,” she said.

“I heard about once or twice when my supervisor got mad at me, they mentioned Michael Yang. He didn’t explain to me. He just shouts that at me,” Ivy added.

According to Senator Risa Hontiveros, they still haven’t verified if the “Michael Yang” identified by Ivy is the former economic adviser of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Right now our main concern is the humanitarian aspect. We haven’t gone to the checking of identities,” she said.

Ivy is among the 30 other Asian nationals who were rescued in Mandaluyong last February 3.

Senator Joel Villanueva previously said that he is seeking the temporary suspension of POGO operations in the country due to the increasing number of illegal POGO workers.—AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

PH inks deal with Japanese firm for procurement of 2 PCG patrol ships

Robie de Guzman   •   February 7, 2020

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade (L) and Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. president and CEO, Koji Okura (R) led the signing of the contract for the supply and delivery of two (2) units of Multi-Role Response Vessels (MRRVs) under the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project, Phase II, 7 February 2020.

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Friday said it has signed a deal with Japanese firm Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. to supply and deliver two units of multi-role response vessels (MRRV) for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade and Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. president and CEO, Koji Okura led the signing of the contract held earlier in the day.

During the ceremony, Tugade said the development, which is under phase II of Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project, is a breakthrough towards the government’s thrust of modernizing and upgrading the country’s maritime protection and border control.

“The modernization of the Philippine Coast Guard has been going fast and quick and very meaningful… The government of Japan has contributed very much, and to which I express my appreciation for your continued support,” he added.

The MRRVs are measuring approximately 94-meters, have a maximum speed of not less than 24 knots and an endurance of not less than 4,000 nautical miles.

The additional patrol vessels are seen to further boost the PCG’s response to maritime incidents in the country’s waters, up to the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), such as search and rescue operations, maritime security operations, and marine environmental protection, among others.

“It is a big stride to the development of this country in the context of maritime security and maritime safety,” PCG Commandant Admiral Joel Garcia said.

The new vessels are expected to be delivered to the country by 2022.

President Koji Okura, meanwhile, expressed his intent to continuously work with the Philippine government in delivering various projects, and initiatives.

“We look forward to working with you all, in this important project and we sincerely appreciate your continuous cooperation to make this project successful,” he said.

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