By Nonoy Lacson
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Elements of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) rescued 16 persons, including four minors, at the Maluso wharf in Basilan province, Wednesay night, before they could be transported to Tawi-Tawi, and on to Malaysia by a human trafficking syndicate.
PCG- Zamboanga City Station commander Lt Cmdr. Noriel Ramos said yesterday they rescued the victims just as they were about to leave Maluso port enroute to Taganak in Tawi-Tawi. From there, they were to be brought to Malaysia.
Ramos identified the rescued victims as Julian Viña 54, Angelito Paredes 38, Chilo Arnoco 34, Jannitte Abueva 29, Jerusalum Siabu 28, John Edward Abueva 28, Gabby Siabo 28, Junjie Vasay 26, Jesan Luna 25, Junimar Vasay 23, French Van Abueva 19, and Chambers Cabarubias 18.
Also among those rescued were minors aged three to 17 years old.
The victims were found to be residents of Zamboanga Del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Misamis Occidental and Cagayan De Oro City.
According to Ramos, the victims were already aboard the ML Paudian, which was scheduled to depart for Taganak at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The victims are now at the Department of Social Services and Development (DSWD) in this city.