The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has ordered all port officers to conduct passenger background check in all ports to prevent the exploitation of Badjao by some groups that bring them to Metro Manila.
In a statement, PCG spokesperson Commodore Armand Balilo said they have coordinated with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in implementing measures to stop entry of Badjaos allegedly being lured to beg in the National Capital Region (NCR), especially during the Christmas season.
Balilo said they also tapped the local government units (LGUs) to establish if there is a valid reason to allow a Badjao passenger to board a ship.
“‘Yung mga dadalhin sa Manila para mamalimos ang DSWD magiging meticulous dun sa mga biyaherong kahina-hinala (Those who will be brought to Manila to beg, the DSWD will be meticulous on suspicious travelers),” Balilo said.
Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo recently went to Zamboanga City to discuss the problem with PCG Southwestern Mindanao District Commodore Marco Antonio Gines.
Gines vowed that the PCG would coordinate with local governments and conduct tighter inspections at the ports to prevent suspicious Badjaos from entering Metro Manila.
Last month, the DSWD rounded up about 130 Badjaos roaming the streets of Manila.
Tulfo said the rescued Badjaos provided each with at least P10,000 cash, food packs, and medications and were also being provided by apartments.