Lobregat calls for stop to immigration woes PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 13 August 2011 14:08

Mayor Celso Lobregat has called on government agencies to put a stop once and for all to problems arising from the ongoing crackdown by Malaysian authorities on undocumented Filipinos in Malaysia even as he said that the city government is doing its best effort to address the problems.

Lobregat sounded the call during a roundtable discussion yesterday with Task Force Deportees at a local hotel with Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Assistant Secretary Parisha Taradji as guest of honor.

He lamented that Zamboanga City, aside from being a takeoff point to Malaysia through the southern backdoor, has also become a dumping ground of deportees from Malaysia, most of them had languished in Malaysian jails.

“The Malaysians are complaining that they are losing jobs to Filipinos that is why the Malaysian authorities are now cracking down on undocumented Filipinos,” Lobregat said, suggesting that deportees from the provinces of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi should no longer be brought to Zamboanga to save time and resources.

“Once they are brought here, the problem is how to bring them to their places; you need money for food and transportation, but if they are dropped in their province there would be no more problems,” he explained, adding that this perennial problem has long been dragging too long since the time of his mother, the late Mayor Maria Clara Lobregat.

He said there have been many discussions in the past about the issues and concerns brought about by the massive deportation of undocumented Filipinos from Malaysia, but it seems little has been done, if there is any, about the problems.

“In spite of the many efforts like the setting up of a one-stop-shop for deportees to get their passports, records will bear me out that many times deportees can hardly get their passports, they go through the process of going to Malaysia as tourists but in ending they will work there and the cycle goes on,” the mayor said.

He expressed hope and confidence that yesterday’s roundtable discussion was fruitful and will result in the solution to the perennial deportation problems, even as he assured the task force that the city government under his watch is committed to assist agencies that are in the forefront of helping the deportees like the DSWD. — Vic Larato