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Two minors rescued from human trafficking activity in Quezon City

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, January 11th, 2019

The two female minors who were saved by authorities from being smuggled to Pangasinan to work in a local bar.
The two female minors who were saved by authorities from being smuggled to Pangasinan to work in a local bar.

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Two minors were rescued by members of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) in a botched human trafficking activity in Barangay Batasan Hills on Thursday (January 10).

The suspect has been identified as Manuel Joshua Sanchez, 21, a native of Samar.

He is now facing violations of R.A. 0208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.

According to reports, one of the minors’ mother reported to the Batasan Police Station about Sanchez’ plan to bring her daughter to Pangasinan to work in a local bar.

Kasi yung anak ko naki-open sa cellphone tapos nakalimutan niyang i-log out kaya nasundan ko yung conversation hanggang sabi noong bakla, dadalhin sila sa Nueva Vizcaya. Ngayon lang iyong sa Pangasinan kasi iyong nakaraan, hindi natuloy,” said ‘Jo’, the victim’s mother.

(TRANSLATION: My daughter borrowed my cellphone but forgot to log out her [social media account] that’s why I was able to follow their conversation up to the point where the suspect said he was bringing them to Nueva Vizcaya. He recently changed it to Pangasinan as the first plan did not push through.)

According to QCPD Station 6 Deputy Commander Sandie Caparroso, the suspect has an outstanding record when the same complainant reported him in November for pimping her daughter to the suspect’s own father.

Sinabihan natin sila na maaktuhan natin ang ginagawa nilang pangbubugaw nung suspect. Kanina nga ay lumapit ulit sa atin. Ang information sa atin ay nakipag-communicate itong suspect sa biktima through FB messenger at inaalok sila ulit ng trabaho somewhere in Pangasinan,” Caparraso said.

(TRANSLATION: The plan is to catch the suspect in the act of pimping the victims. We received information earlier that suspect reached out to the suspects through FB messenger offering employmeny somewhere in Pangasinan.)

Sanchez was arrested while about to board a taxi together with the two minors allegedly on their way to Pangasinan.

The suspect denied the allegations saying he was just ordered by a certain ‘Liezl’ to fetch the minors and bring them to Pangasinan for potential employment.

Nagulat na lang po noong susunduin po namin sila may bigla na lang po mga pulis. Hindi po ako ang nagrecruit nun. Si Liezel kaibigan po nila pinasundo lang po sa akin,” Sanchez argued.

(TRANSLATION: When we came to pick up the girls, I was surprised to see the police. I was not the one who recruited them. I was asked by Liezel, a friend of the girls, to fetch them.)

Auhtorities added that the suspect was using illegal drugs based on the recent drug test conducted.

The two minors were sent to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for counselling. — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Gerry Galicia)

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DND: PH verifying if ship in West PH Sea collision belonged to China

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

The Philippine government has yet to determine if the fishing vessel that hit and sank a Filipino boat near Reed Bank in the West Philippine Sea belonged to China, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana clarified on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters in Davao City, Lorenzana said he based his report on the statement of involved fishermen and that he is still awaiting the results of the investigation being conducted by the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine Military.

“I will not anymore add something sa sinabi ko. Hangga’t hindi namin nakakausap ‘yung mga fisherman at tsaka magkaroon tayo ng intel investigation kung sino talaga ang nakabangga dahil madilim ‘yun eh,” he said.

The defense chief earlier said that a suspected Chinese fishing boat hit and sank a Philippine boat in waters off the Reed bank on June 9.

READ: DND: Chinese vessel hit, sank PH vessel in Recto Bank

He had denounced the action of the alleged Chinese fishing vessel for leaving immediately after the collision, endangering the lives of 22 Filipino fishermen.

Lorenzana said the Chinese government has already been informed and an investigation has been launched into the incident.

Malacañang earlier called on Beijing to impose proper sanctions against the Chinese crewmen for their “uncivilized” and “outrageous” actions.

READ: PH wants China to sanction ship crew for sinking Filipino fishing boat

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin has assured that a diplomatic protest has been filed over the collision incident.

Although Malacañang earlier said that the recent incident may mar the warming relations between the Philippines and China, Lorenzana believes this will not greatly affect the two countries’ ties.

“Hindi naman siguro malaking bagay na maapektuhan. We will find out kung ano ‘yung action nila,” he said.

He also advised fishermen who frequent waters in the West Philippine Sea to employ safety mechanisms to prevent any more collision between vessels.

“Siguro, there should be some mechanism, ‘yung mayroon kang ilaw palagi para makikita, ‘yung iba naman they should be very careful in travelling at night,” Lorenzana said.

While Philippine forces are patrolling the area, the defense chief lamented the country’s insufficient number of coast guards and sea crafts to guard its borders.

“Mayroon naman tayong mga patrol dyan, kulang lang kasi tayo ng barko eh. We don’t have enough coastguards that is why we’ll acquire it all para mayroon naman tayong pang guwardya diyan sa ating mga fishermen,” he said. (Correspondent Janice Ingente contributed to this report)

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PH wants China to sanction ship crew for sinking Filipino fishing boat

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Still image of disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea taken from US Navy surveillance video May 21, 2015. REUTERS/US Navy

MANILA, Philippines – Defense Chief Delfin Lorenzana has called for a diplomatic action in relation to the sea collision between a Chinese vessel and a Filipino fishing boat (F/B GIMVER 1) that left 22 Filipino fishermen adrift in the middle of the sea.

“We call for the conduct of a formal investigation on the matter and for diplomatic steps be taken to prevent a repeat of this incident,” Lorenzana said Wednesday (June 12).

The incident happened on June 9 when a Chinese vessel hit and sank a Filipino vessel near the Recto Bank, a territory in dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

Lorenzana said the Philippines denounced the actions of the Chinese crew as they immediately left the scene and abandoned the Filipino crewmen instead of helping them.

Reports said the F/B GIMVER 1 was anchored at the time when it was hit by the Chinese fishing vessel.

Lorenzana thanked the crewmen of a Vietnamese fishing vessel near the incident for saving the distressed Filipino crewmen in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Command.

The BRP Ramon Alcaraz, which was on routine maritime patrol in the area, was sent to rescue the Filipinos.

“We thank the captain and crew of Vietnamese vessel, for saving the lives of the 22 Filipino crew,” Lorenzana said.

“However, we condemn in the strongest terms the cowardly action of the suspected Chinese fishing vessel and its crew for abandoning the Filipino crew. This is not the expected action from a responsible and friendly people,” he added.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, meanwhile, called the Chinese crewmen’s action as “uncivilised as it is outrageous”.

Panelo said, the Chinese crew should have at least saved the Filipino crewmen even despite the existing territorial dispute between China and the Philippines.

“Regardless of the nature of the collision, whether it was accidental or intentional, common decency and the dictates of humanity require the immediate saving of the crew of the downed Philippine vessel,” he said.

“The safety of the crew of the damaged Filipino vessel should have been the uppermost thought and helping them should have been the natural reaction of the crew of the other vessel,” he added.

Panelo joins Lorenzana in calling for an investigation and sanction against the Chinese crewmen for their actions.

“We call on the appropriate Chinese authorities to probe the collision and impose the proper sanctions to the Chinese crew,” he said.                            

Malacañang assured that concerned agencies are now providing assistance to the Filipino crewmen who were rescued from the incident. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Duterte wishes for ‘truly independent’ Philippines

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

As the country marks its 121st Independence Day, President Rodrigo Duterte called on Filipinos to honor the sacrifices of the nation’s heroes by realizing their dream of a truly independent Philippines.

“A hundred and twenty-one years has passed since our forefathers bound their fates, their lives and their fortunes to proclaim the independence of the Filipino people,” Duterte said in his message on Wednesday, June 12.

He said the proclamation marking the Philippines’ liberation from the Spanish Colonial rule was the “most significant event in our country’s history.”

“Not only did we put an end to more than three centuries of subservience but we also resolved to determine the course of our own destiny as a nation,” he said.

The President reminded Filipinos that the country’s freedom was achieved “not without cost.”

“The tree of liberty blossomed on these lands because it was nourished by the sweat and blood of our patriots, heroes and martyrs,” he said.

“Let us commit ourselves to ensure that their sacrifices have not been in vain and that their dream of a truly independent Philippines – whose people live freely in a secure, stable and prosperous society – will be achieved within our lifetimes,” the chief executive added.

Duterte is set to attend the Independence Day celebration at the 6th Infantry Battalion Headquarters in Lanao del Sur later Wednesday.

When asked why Duterte chose this venue to commemorate the Independence Day, Malacañang said, the president has his own special reason in leading the rites in Lanao del Sur.

In 2018, Duterte led the Independence Day rites in Kawit, Cavite where a small group of anti-Duterte slipped into the crowd and caused a momentary distraction during his speech at the balcony of the house of former President Emilio Aguinaldo. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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