THE COMMISSION on Human Rights (CHR) in the Cordillera is set to investigate alleged human trafficking activities, particularly Badjao’s believed to be used by syndicates to gather money in the form of alms.
CHR regional director Romel Daguimol explained the plight of the Badjao’s coming to Baguio City particularly during the Christmas season are considered as victims of human trafficking since they are being exploited.
“We consider our brothers and sister Badjao’s as victims of human trafficking but we must treat them humanely because they are being exploited by some syndicates as mendicants,” Daguimol said.
In 2016, the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) of Baguio have raised the alarm after a sudden increase of mendicants roaming the streets for alms particularly, Badjaos.
Baguio City Administrator Atty. Carlos Canilao who heads the newly created City Human Rights Action Team (CHRAT) confirmed this always becomes a problem, particularly when there are many visitors in the city and have pointed to the CSWDO who responds to these exploited victims of human trafficking.
“Upon arrest by the police, they are being brought to CSWDO where they are being fed and instructed on what to do. But as to the reports of syndicates using them, the report is with the CSWDO and the police however, our newly formed City Human Rights Action Team will take a look at this and with the assistance of the police, investigate on who are behind this form of human trafficking,” Canilao added.
The CSWDO has been sending back to Urdaneta City in Pangasinan a number of Badjaos who come up in groups during yuletide and tourists peak seasons.