American and Filipino troops participate in an Amphibious landing exercise simulating a beach assault during the annual Balikatan held at San Antonio Zambales, May 9 2018.
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Marines rescue 7 Filipino human trafficking victims from Malaysia
John Unson (Philstar.com) - June 5, 2020 - 3:36pm

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — The Marines rescued Thursday seven Filipinos who escaped from Sabah, Malaysia where illegal recruiters promised them employment that never came true.

Personnel of the 6th Marine Company under the 6th Marine Battalion immediately turned over Kennetly Samana, 46, Ria Magiente, 34, Novelyn Solis, 34, Jelyn Montong, 25, Ritchie Salon, 39, Kenneth Ortiz, 34, and the 30-year-old Greigie Rinon, to the municipal health office of Taganak municipality in Tawi-Tawi for mandatory COVID-19 screening.

They were together on a small boat the Marines intercepted while trying to approach a seaside village near the town proper of Taganak, an island municipality close to the Philippine-Malaysia sea border.

Marine servicemen immediately provided them food and clean clothes before turning them over to the local government unit of Taganak.

The seven Filipinos told investigators they arrived in Malaysia on Feb. 26, 2020 via the southern backdoor after having been recruited by compatriots Sitti Farhana and Hanji Jamahudin to whom they paid job placement fees.

They decided to escape and find a boat that could ferry them to anywhere in Tawi-Tawi after realizing they were duped by the duo who told them they were to work for different employers in Sandakan, Malaysia.

In a statement, the 6th Marine Battalion said two of the seven victims, Magiente and Montong, are from Balintawak, Quezon City and Angeles City, Pampanga, respectively, while the rest are from different provinces in Mindanao.

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