Filipino deportees worried for families' safety in Sabah

Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - March 4, 2013 - 2:29pm

ZAMBOANGA CITY - Filipino deportees from Malaysia are worried for their families they left behind in Sabah, where members of the Malaysian security forces and the army of the Sultanate of Sulu are locked in an armed confrontation.

More than 300 Filipino deportees arrived late Saturday night on board a commercial ferry in this city. The deportees, composed of 193 males, 95 females and 26 children, are natives from the different provinces in Western Mindanao and Davao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

Elizabeth Dee, director for operation of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Zamboanga Peninsula, said the latest batch of illegal migrants deported from Sabah was not related with the standoff in Sabah.

Dee said the Malaysian government has been deporting illegal Filipino migrants twice a week, but there was no deportation made by the Sabah authorities since February.

She said the batch that arrived on Saturday is the first batch for this month.

“Perhaps they (Malaysian authority) were not ready yet (in the deportation),” Dee said.

The DSWD official said they were already anticipating the possible influx of the deportation of illegal Filipino migrants from Sabah.

One of the deportees said that information from their detention cell was controlled and they only learned of the tension in Sabah when they were already on board the ship that took them back to the Philippines.

“I am worried for my family back there because of the incident is reportedly escalating and we don’t know what the Malaysian authorities will do with our families there,” said Helmibin Mor, 37, a native of Barangay Timbangan, Indanan town, Sulu.

Mor, who worked for 10 years in Kota Kinabalu as a construction worker and arrested in 2011, said he left his wife and six children in Sinampang, Kota Kinabalu.

“Nag-aalala kami kasi baka ang pamilya namin ay pag-initan ng Malaysian authorities,” Mor said.

Mor said that most of his male companions, who were deported, also left their families in Sabah.

He said that he wanted to go back and take his family back to the Philippines while appealing to the government to help them reintegrate by providing job opportunities.

The deportees also alleged that they were maltreated by Malaysian authorities inside the detention facilities before they were deported.

Mor said some of his male companions were beaten up for some petty mistakes.

Mary Ann, not her real 19, who worked as a salon worker, claimed that they were fed with uncooked vegetable and spoiled food and often scolded by the detention guards.

“Hindi na ako babalik doon (Sabah),” Marie Ann said.

BARANGAY TIMBANGAN DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT ELIZABETH DEE HELMIBIN MOR KOTA KINABALU MARIE ANN MARY ANN SABAH SULTANATE OF SULU SULU AND TAWI-TAWI
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Recommended
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with