249 more deportees from Sabah arrive in Tawi-Tawi-A A +A
Friday, March 22, 2013
SOME 249 more Filipino from troubled Sabah arrived in Tawi-Tawi last Tuesday, bringing the total returnees to 3,704, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said Friday.
The deportees were immediately given stress debriefing, counseling services, and relief assistance to augment support for their daily basic needs, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said.
As of March 20, a total of 1,319 families composed of 3,704 Filipino returnees from Sabah arrived in Tawi-Tawi and Sulu provinces.
Of the total returnees, 613 families with 1,644 persons are in Tawi-Tawi, while 706 families with 2,060 persons are in Sulu.
"The DSWD was able to provide more than P7.9-million worth of relief assistance to these 1,319 families. The relief goods consist of sacks of rice, boxes of sardines and corned beef, mineral water, boxes of milk, and family food packs," Soliman said.
She said her office also provided transportation assistance to facilitate the families’ return to their respective hometowns.
"Those returnees who do not have places to stay yet are housed in the evacuation centers," Soliman added.
Meanwhile, the One-Stop Shop Processing Center (OSSPC) will be established in Taganak, Tawi-Tawi, to facilitate the needed services to Filipino returnees. This is in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Bureau of Immigration, and the Department of Labor and Employment.
"The OSSPC will be open 24/7 to Filipino returnees to readily assist on their stay at the evacuation centers, provide psychosocial interventions, facilitate the issuance of legal documents, provide livelihood, capability building, and entrepreneurship skills, and give immediate referrals for local employment," Soliman said.
More Filipinos have been fleeing from Sabah after a group of armed men, who introduced themselves as members of the Royal Security Forces (RSF) of the Sulu Sultanate, sailed to Lahad Datu on February 12 to assert their claim over Sabah. A standoff with Malaysian forces occurred resulting to a bloody clash on March 1. Since then, Malaysian police have hunted down the RSF members. (SDR/Sunnex)