City Government alerted on possible repatriation-A A +A
Monday, March 4, 2013
THE Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has alerted the City Government of Zamboanga on possible mass repatriation of undocumented Filipinos from Sabah, Malaysia.
Mayor Celso Lobregat said on Monday that in the wake of the worsening situation due to a territory dispute over Sabah.
“We hope there will be no crackdown on Filipinos in Sabah so there will be no increase in the repatriation,” Lobregat said.
The deportees, most of whom are from the provinces of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, are brought to the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) processing center for displaced persons after which are sent back to their places of origin.
Lobregat lamented that limited reports about the real situation are dished out by Malaysian authorities citing he is fully banking on the DILG for information.
Reports indicate that about 200 followers of the Sultanate of Sulu have been holed up in Sabah since February 12 in an attempt to assert their ownership of the land.
The first major clash between Malaysian forces and the Sultanate Royal Army erupted Friday, leaving at least 12 followers of the sultanate dead.
Another alleged ambush incident on Saturday, meanwhile, left at least six Malaysian policemen and six Sultanate Royal Army dead.
Lobregat said he is closely coordinating with concerned agencies in anticipation of possible repercussions that may result due to the volatile situation in Sabah.
Only about 20 percent are from Zamboanga City while about 70 percent are from Sulu and Tawi-Tawi of the reported over 300,000 Filipinos working in Malaysia.
Lobregat also expressed apprehensions that activities of some local businessmen specifically those engaged in the so-called barter trading activity with Malaysia might be affected if and when the situation worsens. (Bong Garcia)