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139 victims of human smuggling on board a cruise ship rescued in Bataan

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

Authorities round up the rescued undocumented passengers of  a cruise ship bound for Micronesia. (Photo courtesy of: Philippine Coast Guard)


MANILA, Philippines – A joint anti-smuggling operations by members of the National Coast Watch Center (NCWC) together with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) rescued 139 victims of human smuggling on board a cruise ship bound for Micronesia at 1:00 am, Tuesday (July 3).

In a press release, the PCG said the operations team apprehended a 5,746 gross-tonne old cruise ship registered as “M/V Forever Lucky” with 41 crew members on board after the NCWC received information from its foreign counterpart that a vessel of interest docked in Orion, Bataan was allegedly involved in illegal activities specifically human smuggling.

According to NCWC Director Rear Admiral Joel Garcia, the NCWC flagged the information to the PCG and the NBI that the vessel was “preparing to depart the Philippines for Micronesia to transport undocumented number of Filipinos.”

The owner of the vessel, Farenheit Company Ltd., produced “falsified and fictitious Special Permit to Navigate, no Certificate of Public Convenience or franchise to legalize its operation, no manifest for the 139 passengers on board, and other documents,” according to the PCG.

The PCG said the investigation in ongoing to determine appropriate charges to be filed against the persons responsible behind the illegal activity. — Marje Pelayo


M/V Forever Lucky: The 5,746 gross-tonne old cruise ship that was used to smuggle 139 people  (Photo courtesy of: Philippine Coast Guard)




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NBI nabs ‘notorious forger’ over fake U.S. visa application

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, October 9th, 2018


Arrested Manuel Vandellon Bala a.k.a Manuel Bala dubbed as the ‘Golden Hands’ of the Philippines


MANILA, Philippines – The so-called “golden hands of the Philippines” has fallen into the trap of the members of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Anti Organized and Transnational Criminal Division (AOTCD).

The entrapment operation conducted on Friday (October 5) arrested Manuel Vandellon Bala a.k.a Manuel Bala who is known for his “expertise” in forging documents.

His arrest was executed after the U.S. Embassy alerted the NBI of a falsified document submitted to them by two persons who claimed themselves as husband and wife.

According to Bala, visa applicants Kevin Keith Fajardo and Jarra Rowella sought his help to acquire a visa to the United States.  Bala admitted that he advised the two to pose as married couple and he would provide them with the necessary documents.

“When this was checked by the US Embassy, it turned out that there was no marriage on record with the Philippine Statistic Office,” said NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin.

Aside from absence of records at the PASO, Kevin also has no existing records with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) regarding his alleged business.

“He is a notorious guy and that would explain the strings of criminal records on file with the NBI,” said Atty. Joel Tuvera of NBI-AOTCD.

But the suspect insisted that his was a suggestion in order to help the two to expedite the process of visa application.

“Kaya sinasabing “golden hand” dahil pag merong visa at umalis, pumapasok sa Amerika. Ano pinirmahan doon? The visa is genuine. It was acquired through the embassy. So, walang golden hands dito,” the suspect argued.

Bala was arrested in the 90’s over a similar case which is in violation of Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code.

The same charges will be filed against him and an investigation is now underway to further assess if other charges will be filed against him.

Bala earned about P400,000 in a single transaction.

The NBI reminds the public to go with the proper authorities especially when processing important documents to avoid such modus operandi and possible charges. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from JL Asayo)

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Raid of NPA safe house in Rizal nabs 8, yields high-powered firearms

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

courtesy: 2ID Philippine Army

RIZAL, Philippines – Members of the Philippine Army’s (PA) 80th Infantry Battalion together with operatives from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) raided Coral Farm in Sitio Dalig in the municipality of Teresa on Tuesday (September 25) where authorities seized high-powered firearms.

The property, believed to be a safe house of top New People’s Army (NPA) leaders in the area, had been under military surveillance in recent months.

The NPA leaders who were said to be frequent visitors of the farm are Armando Lazarte alias Pat/Romano, the secretary of the NPA’s Sub-Regional Military Area 4A, and Tirso Alcantara alias Bart, the former commander of the NPA terrorists’ Regional Yunit Guerilla.

According to 202nd Infantry Brigade Commander BGen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. the success of the operation meant that the authorities thwarted another “Red October” movement that aimed at destabilizing the government by ousting President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The presence of top NPA leaders and the proximity of Teresa town to Manila are indicators that the threat of “Red October” cannot be downplayed and that the plotters are just waiting for an opportunity to execute their plans,” the General said.

Recovered from the raid were four M653 (baby Armalite) rifles; one M203 Grenade Launcher; five U.S. made 12-gauge shotguns; one caliber .45 pistol; one caliber .38 revolver; one 9mm KG3 machine pistol; six units of two-way radios; two grenades; eight cellphones; enemy documents and numerous war materiel as well as weapon system accessories.

courtesy: 2ID Philippine Army

Eight personalities were nabbed from the operation including the owner of the farm, Ki Be E alias Lily Ong.

Lt. Col. Melencio Ragudo, Commander of the 80th Infantry Battalion said two of the M653s belonged to alias Bart and the other two, including the grenades, were owned by alias Pat, citing testimony from one of the apprehended persons.

courtesy: 2ID Philippine Army

Major General Rhoderick  Parayno, Commander of the PA 2ID commended the team for the successful operations which “preempted the destabilization plot” and vowed to preserve the “Filipino people’s peaceful and democratic way of life by ensuring order across our area of responsibility.” — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Jennica Cruz)


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PH to join migration global compact deal to curb human smuggling

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, August 16th, 2018

Migrants try to get products from a truck | REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

MANILA, Philippines – Representatives from different countries converge in Manila for a two-day conference to tackle the future of migration.

The conference centers on the upcoming adoption of a global compact to promote safe and orderly migration and reduce human smuggling and trafficking.

According to Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola, this is the first international and multilateral agreement on migration governance that the Philippines has strongly pushed for.

Arriola said the agreement culminates the lengthy negotiations on the contentious issue in new york, noting its aim to have a national policy and general framework in labor-receiving countries to prevent discrimination and other migration-related problems of Filipinos.

The official said the finalization of this deal was long overdue. It is envisioned to address the negative impacts of irregular migration while respecting migrant rights and promoting security and prosperity of countries of origin and destination.

The outcome of the conference will be submitted as input to the United Nations migration network for a conference in Geneva, Switzerland in October.

 “It’s a non-binding instrument…Siya ang minimum standard para kung paano dapat i-trato ang mga migrante sa buong mundo,” Usec. Sarah Lou Arriola of DFA Migrant Workers Affairs said.

 More than 190 countries will sign the global compact on migration agreement which is set to be formally adopted in Morocco in December.

According to Arriola, the Philippines is one of the pillars of the agreement which will hugely benefit over 10 million migrant Filipinos around the globe.

She noted that the GCM is a good start to promote the protection of migrants as the pact states the responsibilities and suggestions of various countries on the proper migrant treatment. – Cathy Maglalang / UNTV News and Rescue

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