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The agents of the National Bureau of Investigation-Puerto Princesa District Office and PNP Puerto Princesa City Airport Police Station headed by Major Cyrille Tuvillo rescued 52 Filipinos, who are victims of human trafficking around 4:00 PM last December 7 in Puerto Princesa City International Airport (PPIA).
NBI agent Cedric Caabay said that on November 27, they received a letter request from Maria Temotea Barizon, the overall head of Travel Control and Enforcement Unit of Bureau of Immigration, requesting for an Investigation of alleged Trafficking In Person Schemes being done in the airport and to take appropriate actions to stop the human trafficking.
Aside from this, they also received an intelligence report regarding the illegal activities inside the airport.
Upon their verification, they found out that there were women traveling without the neccesary permits and clearance from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
“Nakita natin na ang mga taong ito ang iba ay nasa loob na, nasa pre-departure area at ang iba naman ay naghihintay dito sa labas ng airport, agad natin silang kinausap at hinanapan ng dokumento at napatunayan natin na undocumented nga ang mga ito, walang permit, walang clearance na nanggaling sa POEA at OWWA,” Caabay said.
He said that the illegal recruiters promised them that they will work as Cooks and Housemaids in Dubai and Saudi Arabia and in nearby countries but they have no contracts, which means they are not sure if is true or not and would end up in prostitution, sexual exploitation and forced labor.
The victims came from different places of the country like Laguna, Davao, Antique, Iloilo and Manila.
Caabay said that according to the victims, they used the airport as exit point because the authorities here are not strict unlike those in Manila airports.
“Actually sa kanila na rin nanggaling na hindi nga raw mahigpit dito sa atin kaya sa halip na sa manila sila manggagaling mas pinili nila dito dahil alam nila sa Manila ay mahigpit ang paglabas ng bansa, mausisa ang ating mga ahensiya doon bago sila payagang makalabas ng bansa subalit dito sa atin ayon sa kanila ay napakadali lang kaya marami na pala ang nakabyahe na mga kababayan natin sa ibang bansa dito nanggagaling sa atin,” Caabay said.
The agent also confirmed that they are now investigating two possible suspects and a government employee, whom they believed is an accomplice.
“Sa ngayon nakakapangalan na tayo ng dalawang tao bukod sa mga involvement ng ibang agencies na ayon na rin sa ibang mga victims ay mayroong konektadong empleado ng gobyerno na siyang mag-a-assist sa kanila palabas ng bansa,” Caabay stressed.
However, Caabay said that as of now he cannot divulge the identity of the suspects because of their on going follow up investigation.
Meanwhile, the NBI agents are now trying to convince the victims to have their sworn statement to build a case against the suspects but the victims refused and only wanted to go home.
But according to Caabay, even the victims refused to give sworn statement, they will continue to investigate and if permitted by their superiors, they will file a case against the recruiters and their accomplice.
Now, they already turned over the victims to City Social Welfare and Development of Puerto Princesa for proper disposition and appropriate action.