Duterte says Malaysia agreed to free 7,000 Filipinos in Sabah

MALAYSIAN Prime Minister Najib Razak has allowed the 7,000 Filipinos detained in Sabah to return to the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday.

The agreement was attained during the two-day visit of Duterte in Malaysia.

“Yes, it is okay with them,” Duterte told reporters in Davao City, when asked if the repatriation of illegal Filipino migrants is among the agreements between him and Najib.

In a separate press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the two countries had agreed for a “gradual” repatriation of the Filipinos in Malaysia.

“It will take its own course. It has a natural course. And like we said, it will be a gradual repatriation,” Abella said.

Duterte said that in his bilateral meeting with Najib, they both committed to have a joint coordination for the “pursuit, interdiction, and arrest” or criminals and terrorists plying the waterways between the Philippines and Malaysia.

The President said Malaysia will also continue to play an important role in the implementation phase of the peace process between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Duterte also said Malaysian business leaders showed keen interest in infrastructure, mass transportation development, building of regional centers, joint ventures in agri-business, halal-certified products, and high value post-harvest processing facilities.

“Business leaders expressed confidence in many of the opportunities for investment in the Philippines,” he said. “My message to business leaders is clear: The Philippines is open for business and we will provide the environment that is conducive for industries to thrive.”

Malaysia has $63 million investments in the Philippines.

With the strengthening of ties of the two countries, Abella said the government is expecting for more investments to come in the Philippines..

Abella said Malaysia is also eyeing palm import in the Philippines.

“Malaysian investors are considering setting of palm oil plantations in Mindanao and Palawan. And Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said that the businessmen initially planned to develop about 80,000 hectares but they are considering expanding the investment to about 200,000 hectares in the Philippines,” Abella said. (Sunnex)
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