272 Filipino evacuees from Sabah arrive in Zambo City PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 16 March 2013 11:30

A total of 272 Filipinos, who fled Sabah, Malaysia to avoid being caught in the ongoing conflict, arrived yesterday in Zamboanga City aboard a commercial vessel.

The vessel carrying the  evacuees from Sandakan, Sabah dropped anchor at the  local wharf yesterday afternoon. They are composed of 215 adults, 39 minors and 28 infants, mostly from Zamboanga City, Basilan, Sulu, Zamboanga Sibugay, Gen.  Santos City and other provinces in Mindanao.

Edgar Catipay of Gen. Santos City,  a plywood factory worker in Sandakan, disclosed that when the Sabah standoff broke out in Lahad Datu between the forces of  Sulu Sultanate and Malaysian police and military last March 2, 2013, they were able to escape Sabah going to Taganak island, Tawi-Tawi by boat.

Sensing that a gunbattle will erupt between the two forces, one construction worker from Basilan said he did not hesitate to join other Filipinos in fleeing Sabah and sailing to Taganak because he knew that Malaysian police are very cruel in their arrest of suspects.

Another construction worker from Sulu disclosed that  his group was the first batch to escape Sabah going to Taganak  island when the standoff started between the two forces.

After staying in Taganak island for few days,  they were fetched by a Philippine Navy vessel which brought them to Bongao, Tawi-Tawi for documentation prior to their travel to Zamboanga City aboard a commercial vessel.

When they arrived yesterday afternoon, the 272 evacuees were facilitated by the Zamboanga City Base Anti- Human Trafficking Task Force.

Jamila A. Arasid, officer of the  Department of Social  Work and Development’s Processing Center for Displace Person, said that the 272 evacuees will be brought to the Bahay Silongan of DSWD in Barangay Mampang. — Allen Abastillas