Twenty-seven members of the Badjao indigenous people (IP) who were among those rescued last June 4 will remain at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) quarantine facility in Quezon City until Friday, June 18.
Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Jinky Dedumo, executive director of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), said that those staying in the quarantine facility include four IPs who tested positive for COVID-19 and 23 of their family members who have been exposed to them.
So far, none of the 23 family members has tested positive for COVID-19, Dedumo said.
She also said that “sufficient provisions and accommodation are provided and we will make sure that our IP brothers and sisters who can be more exposed to abuse will be protected.”
The 27 IPs are among the 303 Badjaos from Zamboanga who were rescued from trafficking by law enforcement led by the Philippine National Police (PNP) last June 4 at the Manila North Harbour Seaport.
“We look forward to their reintegration and perhaps return to Mindanao, and the NCIP (National Commission on Indigenous Peoples) is also working closely with IACAT as regards this matter,” Dedumo said.
Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra has already ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to find out who was behind the mass arrival of the IPs.
So far, 232 rescued Badjaos had left Manila for Zamboanga.
Dedumo said 44 other Badjao IPs have been staying in a temporary shelter in Quezon City under the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa program. They were found to have legitimate travel purposes, she added.