The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has renewed its collaborated with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to provide immediate protection to indigenous peoples (IPs) against human trafficking.
DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo met with PCG District Southwestern Mindanao Commander Marco Antonio Gines in Zamboanga City on Tuesday, Nov. 29, to discuss the ongoing and urgent need to protect IPs from human trafficking.
Tulfo said the DSWD continues to assist local government units (LGUs) in responding to the influx of IPs in Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon who practice mendicancy, especially in the days before the holiday season.
He said that so far the DSWD has assisted 47 Sama Bajau families or 158 individuals in returning to their places of origin where they will be assessed for livelihood assistance by the concerned DSWD field offices.
Gines also shared during the meeting the ongoing initiatives of the PCG to combat human trafficking and protect the IPs of Zamboanga.
The PCG’s initiatives include strict inspection of ports and coordination with LGUs.
In order to provide full protection to IPs, the DSWD emphasized the need to collaborate with other national government agencies, civil society organizations, and LGUs to ensure that they are provided with appropriate programs and services and protect them from any human trafficking activity.
This is also in accordance with the directive of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to bring the government closer to the IPs.