MANILA, July 3 (Xinhua) -- A total of 139 victims of a human trafficking network were rescued on Tuesday in a raid in the Philippines, authorities said on Tuesday.
Philippine Coast Guard spokesman Capt. Armand Balilo said the victims were on board a cruise ship docked at the port of Orion town, Bataan province, northwest of Manila, when authorities rescued them around 1 a.m. (local time) on Tuesday.
Balilo said the victims, who were illegally recruited from different provinces, set off to Micronesia when apprehended.
The authorities acted on the information fed to the National Coast Watch Center (NCWC) by a foreign counterpart that a domestic passenger vessel of interest in Bataan was allegedly involved in human smuggling and other illegal activities, Balilo said.
"The ship, owned and operated by Fahrenheit Company Ltd, was preparing to depart the Philippines for Micronesia to transport undocumented number of Filipinos," said Rear Admiral Jose Garcia, NCWC director.
He said the company produced falsified and fictitious special permit to navigate upon checking, but cannot produce pertinent documents like certificate of public convenience or franchise to legalize its operation.
Moreover, he said the ship has no manifest for the 139 passengers on board, and other documents required for its operation.
"Investigation is ongoing for filing of necessary charges against persons behind this illegal activity," Garcia said, adding the 41 crew of the ship are now under custody.
Garcia vowed that necessary charges will be pressed against those people behind the illegal activity.