ZAMBOANGA CITY, Feb. 26 — Thirteen illegal recruitment victims were rescued by the police in coordination with the Sea-Based Anti-Trafficking Task Force (SBATTF) Thursday afternoon at the local port, a top police official announced Saturday.
Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO) director Senior Supt. Edwin de Ocampo said the combined police and SBATTF team also arrested the suspected illegal recruiter identified as Arlene Santiago, 44, who allegedly recruited the victims in Manila.
De Ocampo said the victims were already aboard a commercial ferry set to leave Thursday evening when rescued.
Rescued were: Ricardo Aguilar, 33, Benjamin Casabar, 40 Alejandro Miro, 52, Romeo Laude, 49, Manuel Mansano, 45, and Eduardo Serrano, 40, all of Navotas City; Ruel Perez, 37, Camarines Norte; Ricardo Estopa Jr., 31, Caloocan City; Norman Obenza, 24, Samar; Reynaldo Cruz, 31, Malabon City; Homer Ado, 48, Manila; Beato Limen Jr., Rizal province; and Renaldo Corong, 43, Cavite.
They were turned over to the custody of the center for displaced persons manned by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Santiago, who was detained at the ZCPO headquarters, denied that she recruited the victims to work in Malaysia.
Appropriate charges have been filed against Santiago, De Ocampo said.
The SBATTF has intensified the surveillance at the Zamboanga port after it has been identified as one of the jump-off points of human trafficking. (PNA)
scs/Teofilo P. Garcia/rsm