400 Filipino deportees to arrive June 30 in Zamboanga City

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ZAMBOANGA CITY–A local official here has appealed to the national government to coordinate with the Malaysian government to request for a one-week deferment in the deportation of Filipinos via this city.

Dr. Elmeir Jade Apolinario, City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) chief, said Monday the deferment would give them ample time to prepare for the arrival of the deportees.

Apolinario made the appeal as the first batch of deportees, composed of 400 Filipinos, are expected to arrive Tuesday, June 30, in this city from Malaysia via Sandakan City aboard a commercial vessel.

Apolinario emphasized the need to get the profiles of the deportees before allowing them entry here.

The Regional Task Force coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) has proposed to hire a medical clinic in Malaysia to examine the deportees before boarding the vessel, but this is still being finalized.

As this developed, Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan said Monday they are not prepared to accept deportees in the province.

Tan said he told Dr. Emilia Monicimpo, the Department of Health director in Region 9, that the names of deportees and their addresses have to be cleared first if they are indeed residents of Sulu.

“When they left the province, they sold their houses. So we have to ascertain if they still have their homes in Sulu; if none, this will give us a big problem,” Tan said.

Compounding the problem, Apolinario said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has no sufficient facility to accommodate such a huge number of deportees. -PNA

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