124 more Pinoy deportees arrive in Bongao from Sabah PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 14 March 2014 12:56

A total of 124 Filipinos who were deported from Sabah, Malaysia arrived in the country via the Port of Bongao in Tawi-Tawi province Wednesday night.

Reports said the deportees returned on board Mid-East Express 2 which docked at the Port of Bongao at around 8:05 p.m.

The Filipinos were sent back to the country after they were caught by Malaysian authorities in Semporna due to illegal entry or lack of legal document for staying there.

Combined government authorities coming from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Immigration (BI), and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) extended assistance to the distressed Filipinos upon arrival.

They are under the custody of the DSWD in Bongao for proper disposition.

Last month, lawyer Laisa Alamia, cabinet executive secretary of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), has raised an alarm over the increasing influx of Filipino deportees from Sabah, Malaysia.

Atty. Alamia told reporters the situation is already alarming because of the big number of deportees.

She said the number of Filipino illegal migrants from Malaysia arriving at the Bongao port after being deported is rising at an alarming rate.

The executive secretary revealed that dozens of deportees are arriving every week in Bongao. “Bawat isang linggo may dumarating isang daang katao. So we are anticipating na because of the crackdown na naman, darating iyan pa-konti konti,”

Last February, 198 deportees arrived in Bongao with cumulative total number of 1,013 from the time the Malaysian government started demolishing the water (bunk) houses and villages along the coastal areas water (bunk) of migrants in Malaysia.”

Alamia added: “Last quarter of 2013 cumulative, last night based from the DSWD is now 1,113 deportees na dumating sa Bongao, ‘yung dumating bale cumulative iyan.. mayron kasing few boats na dumarating and every time na dumarating sometime 100, 50, 160 pero marami na daw base sa estimate ng DSWD.”

“Could you just imagine if this will extend up to eight months so this will drain the resources of the provincial government and DSWD (in Tawi-Tawi) to house them (deportees) and feed them.”

Alamia however said during the meeting in Bongao, attended by Governor Nurbert Sahali, Congresswoman Ruby Sahali and the mayors, the ARMM regional government and the provincial government of Tawi-Tawi have come up  with a long term plan to address the problem.

“Ang recommendation, we will expect dahil is a national issue na magkaroon ng structure ng building ‘One Stop Shop’ processing center doon. DSWD will man it with DOLE, Red Cross, Bureau of Immigration, and government agencies, na puwedeng matulog doon ang mga deportees habang naghihintay na maayos lahat ang pagbalik sa Malaysia.”

According to Alamia, the proposal for the establishment of building in Tawi-Tawi and Sulu should have separate rooms for women from men, proper community kitchen and dining place and proper sanitation.

“We tasked already the provincial government of Tawi-Tawi to refer the proposal to the national government and ARMM government because we will include that in the 2014 budget ng ARMM sa infrastructure.”

The Bernama News Agency reported that among the offenses cited by Malaysian authorities against the Filipino migrants were not having travel documents, overstaying in the country, and possession of fake travel permits.