RESCUED. Authorities rescue seven trafficking in persons victims, including two children, at the port of Bongao town, Tawi-Tawi province, on Sunday (Jan. 22, 2023). The adult victims were allegedly offered high salary to work at a palm oil plantation in Malaysia. (Photo courtesy of Area Police Command-Western Mindanao)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Seven victims of trafficking in persons, including a couple and their two children, were rescued by authorities in Tawi-Tawi province, a top police official reported Monday.

Col. Richard Verceles, operations chief of the Area Police Command-Western Mindanao, said the victims were rescued around 10:05 a.m. Sunday at the port of Bongao, the capital town of Tawi-Tawi.

Verceles identified the victims as Joseph Remasag, 28, his wife, Irish, 32; their two children aged two and four; Micheal Poliquit, 30; Johnrel Jumawan, 21; and Janrey Remasag, 19.

The victims were rescued by the members of Bongao Municipal Inter-Agency Committee Against Trafficking (MIACAT) after receiving information about a group of individuals traveling to Malaysia from Zamboanga City via Tawi-Tawi.

After conducting verification and profiling of passengers, MIACAT chief Rosabelle Sulani said they learned that the adult victims were offered high salary to work at a palm oil plantation in Malaysia.

The victims, who are all from Sibuco town, Zamboanga del Norte province, were temporarily placed under the custody of the Bongao Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.

On Jan. 19, the Philippine Coast Guard rescued seven trafficking in persons victims in Panglima Sugala town, Tawi-Tawi.

The victims came from Jolo, the capital of Sulu province, and were set to board on another boat in Panglima Sugala that would take them to their destination in Cambodia. (PNA)