Climaco seeks Duterte’s help on repatriation woes PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 10 March 2017 13:34

by vic larato

Mayor Beng Climaco has formally sought the intervention of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte through Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalao on issues and concerns arising from the massive repatriation of thousands of undocumented Filipinos from Malaysia.

Records showed that almost 7,000 undocumented Filipinos had been rounded up in Malaysia and will soon be repatriated back to the country with Zamboanga City as the last port of call via Tawi-Tawi.

In a letter dated March 4, 2017 to Pres. Duterte, Climaco specifically recommended that reception and processing of repatriates be undertaken in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi instead of sending them all to Zamboanga City.

Inasmuch as the City of Zamboanga is willing to extend more support in receiving repatriates from Malaysia, the mayor said the city government still has 18,125 internally displaced persons to attend to in 11 transitory sites as they wait for the completion and turnover of 6,483 houses as a result of the Zamboanga siege in 2013.

Climaco explained that due to the limit of the city’s absorptive capacity, because of the siege victims, the city can assist only 500 repatriates (based on the capacity of the DSWD processing center in Talon-Talon) who are from here and nearby areas in Zamboanga Peninsula.

“Processing should be in Tawi-Tawi due to its proximity to Malaysia and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) areas, where most of the repatriates originate. Processing Centers for displaced persons be established in ARMM,” Climaco said in her letter to the President, which she personally handed over to Sec. Taguiwalo when the latter visited the city last Saturday.

She likewise urged the President to revisit the country’s bilateral agreements with Malaysia, particularly in addressing the situation of children, women and families who will be separated due to the repatriation as well as stateless children who will end up being mendicants.

Attached to her letter was a copy of Resolution No. 359 dated Feb. 28, 2017 of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, recommending that processing and accommodation facility be established for repatriates from Malaysia in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi considering that it is the first port of entry from Malaysia.

Copies of the resolution were likewise furnished Sec. Taguiwalo and the regional director of DSWD Regional Office 9 for information and appropriate action.-(Vic Larato)