News Briefs: March 8, 2017

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Stories from across the Philippines on Wednesday, March 8

112 human trafficking victims rescued in Isabela


ISABELA – Authorities here rescued 112 workers from Sarangani, Bicol, Negros Oriental, and General Santos City who were allegedly victims of human trafficking.

In a phone interview on Tuesday, March 7, lawyer Rodolfo Manaloto of the Inter-Agency Council against Trafficking (IACAT), said they would file charges against the Isabela Ecofuel Agro-Industrial Ecozone for maltreating the workers, including 3 minors.

Acting on a complaint by the Sarangani provincial social welfare office – tipped off by a resident who managed to escape – Cauayan police in Isabela found out the workers were staying in Alicaocao village in Cauayan. They were able to enter the place when labor officials were allowed to visit the workers. 

The workers were supposed to be getting a salary of P3,000 weekly, according to the contracts they signed, but they instead received P280 daily, which was less than the minimum wage. They took home only P180 a day because the “assistance” that the company gave their families during their recruitment turned out to be salary advances that had to be deducted.

They were made to work 14 hours a day in different plantations, from 4 am to 6 pm.

The victims on Saturday, March 4, were brought from the Isabela evacuation center to Jose Fabella  Memorial Hospital. They are set to be brought home to their provinces this week, Manaloto said. – Raymon Dullana


Police applicants found using fake Napolcom documents


PAMPANGA – Some applicants to the police service have been found using bogus National Police Commission eligibility documents, said Napolcom Central Luzon director Rodolfo Grande Santos Jr, who also ordered the review of documents submitted by applicants in the last 5 years.

“The move started after the recent discovery of a fake Napolcom eligibility used by an applicant in the latest recruitment phase. It happened after the Regional Personnel and Human Resource Development Division of the Police Regional Office 3 (PRO 3) requested us to confirm a certification of entrance examination rating submitted by one of its recruits,” Santos said.

He said verification conducted by the Napolcom Region 3’s personnel section showed that “signatures, dry seal, and rubber stamp used to authenticate the certification were forged and replicated.”

“The investigating team found out that the documents the applicant submitted to PRO 3 was allegedly supplied by a contact claiming to be from the Napolcom Central Office in Quezon City for a fee of P60,000,” Santos said.

About a year ago, the PRO3 and the Napolcom Region 3 discovered that some police applicants submitted fake height waiver certificates, which is among the documentary requirements for those who are not tall enough to become police officers. – Jun A. Malig


Credit card ‘skimmers’ arrested in Boracay


AKLAN – Authorities arrested 4 persons, including two women, involved in alleged credit card fraud in Boracay Island on Monday, March 6. The suspects were identified as Camela Cho Pahati from Sta Cruz, Manila; Apol Cruz Buenaflor from Taguig, City; Reynald Merlan Bartolome from Mariveles, Bataan; and Jose de Leon Marcelino, from Taguig City. 

Senior Police Officer 1 Christopher Mendoza, chief of the Boracay Tourist Assistance Center’s police-community relations, said the suspects duped a popular disco bar in Barangay Balabag on March 3 by using 3 credit cards to pay their bills amounting to P8,188.98.

He said the suspects went bar hopping using credit cards bearing different names. Their modus was discovered when a local bank charged back the disco bar for P39,000 on March 6 for a fraudulent credit card transaction.

Police seized assorted credit cards, 5 mobile phones, and government identification cards from the suspects. They were detained at BTAC lock-up cells after their arrest. Estafa charges were filed against them at the Aklan Provincial Prosecutor’s Office on March 7. – Boy Ryan Zabal 





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