232 rescued Badjaos back in Zamboanga

232 rescued Badjaos back in Zamboanga

MANILA – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) assisted 232 of the 303 members of the Badjao tribe rescued from still unidentified human trafficking groups in Manila on June 4.

The DSWD-National Capital Region (NCR) arranged ferry trips for the indigenous peoples’ (IP) safe return to Zamboanga City. They arrived home Wednesday.

Each family or individual were provided with PHP5,000 cash.

The DSWD, along with the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, Philippine Coast Guard, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Department of Justice, and Philippine National Police-Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) worked together to transport the Badjaos, who temporarily stayed at the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) depot in Quezon City from the North Harbor in Manila.

In a statement, DSWD-NCR said the IPs were given family food packs, hygiene and sanitary kits, milk, and cooked meals while they were at the BP2 center.

The agency is also coordinating with its Region 9 counterpart for further interventions to be provided the Badjaos.

The other Badjaos, 23 of whom are relatives of the four who tested positive for Covid-19, are in isolation.

The NCIP took the 44 others under its care after confirming their origins — Pampanga, Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija, Batangas Lucena City, and Manila.

They were also provided with psychosocial interventions by social workers.

In a previous report, IACAT said the travel was facilitated by an “undisclosed individual”.

The operation came after anti-trafficking operatives rescued 18 IPs, of which 10 are minors, at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3, on May 5, and six Badjaos, including three minors, were intercepted by the WCPC-Visayas at the Mactan International Airport, Lapu-lapu City on May 30. (PNA)

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