Japanese kids rescued in Samal; trafficking raps filed

DAVAO. Samal Island. (SunStar file)
DAVAO. Samal Island. (SunStar file)

NINE Japanese nationals including seven minors who are victims of child trafficking and exploitation were rescued by the member agencies of Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (Iacat)-Davao on May 2, at Purok 5 Camotes, Barangay Toril, Babak District, Island Garden City of Samal.

As a result, two Japanese nationals and a Filipina are facing charges before the court after they were arrested for allegedly trafficking the Japanese children.

Facing charges of five counts for violation of the Republic Act 10364 or The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012, and Republic Act 7610 or Anti-Child Abuse Law, are Hajime Kawauchi, Yuya Kawauchi, and Lorena Mapagdalita of Samal.

Authorities brought the three suspects before the City Prosecution Office in Samal, Babak District last May 3 for inquest proceedings. But the violation of Republic Act 7610 case filed against Mapagdalita was dismissed for lack of evidence. She still stands accused of trafficking.

Police Regional Office (PRO)-Davao spokesperson Police Chief Inspector Milgrace Driz said that the rescue operation was conducted by the members of Iacat-Davao composed of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Bureau of Immigration, City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD), and Department of Health (DOH) in response to the reported case of missing Japanese Nationals.

The personnel of the Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos) Police Station and Davao del Norte Provincial Police Office (DNPPO) led by officer-in-charge Police Superintendent Venus Ortuyo along with the personnel of CSWD successfully rescued the nine Japanese nationals.

Initially, Mapagdalita reported to the police the missing four Japanese nationals and acting on the report, investigators tracked where these children were last seen. Upon checking on the area, the cops found more Japanese nationals.

Suspicious on the activity of the suspects, the cops cooperated with the social workers of Igacos and the Japanese Embassy to bridge the language barrier. From there, the rescued Japanese nationals revealed that they were forced to work and were maltreated.

Driz cited that the parents of the children voluntarily sent their children here to enroll and study English and karate.

“Allegedly man gud mam na naa daw website na naga advertise na naa daw school for English and karate diri so ang parents voluntarily nag send sa ilaha diri sa bayad na P100-K pero kining mga suspects P1-K lang ginahatag sa mga bata (A website allegedly advertised a school offering English and Karate so the parents sent their children here to study for the amount of P100,000 but the suspects only gave the children P1,000),” Driz said.

Based on further investigation the school has no permit to operate.

On Monday, May 7, five cases for violation of RA 10364 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 and five cases for violation of RA 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act were filed against the suspects through inquest proceeding before the Office of the City Prosecution, Babak District, Igacos.

The suspects are currently detained at the Igacos Police Station. However, the case for violation of RA 7610 against respondent Lorena A. Mapagdalita was dismissed for insufficient evidence.

Driz said that the rescued three female Japanese minors are now under the custody of DSWD Home for Girls and Women located in Maa, Davao City while the six male Japanese nationals are under the custody of Igacos Social Welfare and Development office.

She added that the Japanese nationals were here since 2017 and their passports showed they have been in the country for 12 to 15 months. They were 13 initially and the four who were missing are in the Japanese Embassy.


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