197 deportees arrive in Zamboanga City from Sabah

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ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said Thursday that another batch of 197 Filipino deportees arrived here from the Malaysian state of Sabah, where the Philippines has a dormant claim.

Ivan Eric Salvador, DSWD regional information officer, said they arrived at the local port Wednesday night aboard a commercial ferry, M/V Antonia 1 coming from the city of Sandakan, Sabah.

Salvador told the Philippine News Agency that 134 of the 197 are male adults and the rest comprise of 49 female adults, and 14 children.

Salvador said they are from the Zamboanga Peninsula areas and the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, which are part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

He said the deportees were taken to the DSWD Processing Center for Displaced Persons (PCDP) in Barangay Talon-Talon where they will be processed for eventual return to their respective places of origin.

He said the deportees were immediately subjected to medical checkup by the Department of Health (DOH) while the DSWD provided the food, transportation, and other personal needs.

He said the longest time the deportees will stay at the PCDP is one week and the shortest is two days before they will be sent home.

He said the individuals were deported because they have no travel and working documents amid a crackdown by the Malaysian government on illegal migrants.

“Given the risk and their vulnerability on this situation, we advised them to secure proper documents so they will no longer face the same circumstances in the future,” Salvador said

“We are doing our best to assess their needs, coordinate with local government units and agencies so that we can best address their concerns for aftercare services,” he added. (PNA)

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