Solon calls for probe on human trafficking try

MANILAA partylist lawmaker representing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) on Tuesday called for a congressional inquiry into the illegal recruitment of more than a hundred Filipinos on board a cruise ship bound for Micronesia.

ACTS-OFW Rep. Aniceto Bertiz III said Congress should look into the complicity of MV Forever Lucky and its owner, Fahrenheit Company Limited, in the human smuggling attempt.

We intend to ascertain whether MV Forever Lucky managed to sneak Filipino job recruits out of the country in the past, before it was caught red-handed, Bertiz said.

Last week, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) operatives rescued 139 individuals from a human smuggling attempt on board a cruise ship bound for Micronesia.

Some of the victims were tattoo artists, massage attendants, entertainers, bartenders, food attendants, and "maglilitson" (roasters).

Gerald Geralde, head of NBI's special task force, said the victims came from various provinces and have no proper visa for Micronesia, carrying only passports.

Bertiz said the cruise ship should be red-flagged by the authorities and be subjected to stricter boarding and inspection.

He cited the law stating that illegal recruitment refers to any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring, or procuring workers for employment abroad, whether for profit or not, when undertaken by a non-licensee.

Depending on the gravity of the offense, he said those found guilty could face 12 years to life in prison plus a fine of up to PHP5 million. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency