ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/26 February) – Thirteen victims of illegal recruitment were rescued by the police and the Sea Based Anti-Trafficking Task Force (SBATTF), the city police chief announced Saturday.
Senior Supt. Edwin de Ocampo, director of the Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO), said the combined police and SBATTF also arrested the illegal recruiter identified as Arlene Santiago, 44, who allegedly recruited the victims in Manila for work in Malaysia.
De Ocampo said the victims were already on board a commercial ferry that was set to leave Thursday evening when rescued.
Rescued were: Ricardo Aguilar, 33, Benajamin Casabar, 40 Alejandro Miro, 52, Romeo Laude, 49, Manuel Mansano, 45 and Eduardo Serrano, 40 all of Navotas; Ruel Perez, 37, Camarines Norte; Ricardo Estopa, Jr., 31, Caloocan City; Norman Obenza, 24, Samar; Reynaldo Cruz, 31, Malabon; Homer Ado, 48, Manila City; Beato Limen, Jr., Rizal province; and Renaldo Corong, 43, Cavite.
They were turned over to the center for displaced persons of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Santiago, who was detained at the ZCPO headquarters, denied she recruited the victims to work in Malaysia.
She claimed they met at the international airport in Manila and that the victims sought her assistance in traveling to Malaysia.
Appropriate charges had been filed against Santiago, de Ocampo said.
The SBATTF intensified the surveillance at the Zamboanga port after it was identified as one of the jump-off points for human trafficking.
The victims rescued last Thursday were the second rescued since February 14. (MindaNews)