Malacañang has lauded the creation of an inter-agency task force to monitor and combat human trafficking crimes in the Zamboanga Peninsula and expressed hope that such a mechanism can be replicated in other regions in the country.?? Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Friday the establishment of the Zamboanga Sea-Based Anti-Trafficking Task Force (ZSBATTF) provides a major boost in the government’s fight against the illegal trade of human beings and will help efforts to remove the Philippines from the United States watch list on human trafficking.
“The creation of inter-agency task force and establishment of anti-human trafficking units had been proven to be successful in reducing human trafficking in other countries. “We hope that it will do the same thing for us and the setting up of ZSBATTF is a good start,” the Executive Secretary said.?? Ochoa issued the statement after receiving the report of retired Police Director Felizardo M. Serapio, executive director of the Philippine Center on Transnational Crime (PCTC), informing the Office of the President that member-agencies of the ZSBATTF have formalized their partnership in the drive against human trafficking with the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) last March 21. The signing of the agreement was held at the Philippine Ports Authority-Visayan Forum Halfway House, Port Area, Zamboanga City, with United States Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas as keynote speaker.