PCG intercepts 47 undocumented Filipinos, 16 minors off the seas of Basilan

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Zamboanga City (August 17)– The Philippine Coast Guard Zamboanga Station intercepted at least 63 undocumented Filipinos, including 16 minors who were on board a local inter-island vessel off the seas of Basilan area.

Zamboanga City Coast Guard Station chief Lt. Commander Noriel Ramos said that members of his command under their advance station based in Basilan province intercepted a report around 1:30pm on Sunday afternoon that a local vessel named M/L Hapidz was enroute to Zamboanga City from Isabela,Basilan.

The combined inspection team from PCG Zamboanga together with the K9 Unit of PCG Southwestern Mindanao under the command of Captain Joseph Coyme, in coordination with Joint Task Force Zamboanga and Zamboanga City Police Office apprehended the undocumented passengers and immediately conducted security inspection and paneling on all baggages in the vessel.

The undocumented passengers were escorted to the Department of Social Welfare and Development Processing Center for Displaced Persons (DSWD-PCDP) located at Barangay Mampang this city for proper legal disposition, wherein it was discovered that twenty (25) of the passengers does not have any identification to include 16 minors. The other passengers with identification and documents were also profiled and eventually released to DSWD custody.

Ramos said that during the process of accounting and investigation he discovered that reportedly the said passengers came from Kota Kinabalu, in Sandakan, Sabah Malaysia and entered the Philippines via Bakungan island, in Tawi-Tawi where they took the vessel to reach Basilan and Zamboanga.

“Nagpalipat-lipat sila ng isla from Bakungan, to Sulu, then to Basilan bago makarating ng Zamboanga, mga illegal na nakatira ang karamihan sa kanila sa Sandakan kung saan may massive crackdown ang Malaysian authorities on undocumented aliens, apektado ang mga ito kayat nagdesisyon silang umuwi pabalik ng Pilipinas kaysa mahuli ng otoridad doon,” Ramos said.

During the profiling process, it was found that said passengers origins from Sibuco and Sirawai in Zamboanga del Norte province, while the rest are from the barangays of Sangali, Upper Calarian and Sta Barbara here in Zamboanga City.

“PCG Zamboanga and Southwestern Mindanao has been intensifying our efforts in monitoring all vessels and personalities entering and leaving our territorials waters here in Western Mindanao region towards the border in Malaysia, and this relentless effort will continue as part of our objective in securing our waters from lawless elements and other enemies of the state entering the southern backdoor,” Ramos said. Jiann Padillo/ NewsLine with PCG

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