Nearly 2,000 Filipinos deported from Sabah – DSWD
MANILA, Philippines – 1,987 Filipinos were deported from Sabah, Malaysia, during the first quarter of 2017, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said.
Providing assistance to the deportees, the DSWD reported that 1,706 of them are back to their places of origin, mostly in Mindanao. Only 281 are still housed in the Processing Center for Displaced Persons (PCDP).
A bulk of the repatriates – 1,146 – came in March, while 430 were sent back to the country in February, and 411 were deported in January.
The total assistance amount given to them as of March 22 is P1.5 million. Nearly half of it or P615,000 were spent on food, and P918,880 on transportation. They were also given cash and medicine assistance when necessary.
Social workers also conducted psycho-social interventions for the distressed repatriates. The department had also given referrals to local government units for those needing the support services of local social welfare offices.
In January, DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said their agency was preparing an action plan to aid 7,000 Filipinos expected to be deported from Sabah.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said the deportees "will not be encouraged to seek clemency" from the Malaysian government but rather be assisted for a smooth deportation to the Philippines.
This was after the Philippines and Malaysia forged a deal in November 2016 that Filipinos would gradually be repatriated to the Philippines.
DSWD said the number of deportees continues to increase year by year because several Filipinos keep coming back to Malaysia without proper documentation despite the interventions of the Philippine government.
The DSWD Field Office in the Zamboanga Peninsula reports that many recent deportees wish to return to Sabah, where their families have been left behind.
Others reasons deportees want to go back to Sabah, the regional social welfare office says, are the lack of job opportunities in the Philippines, and the inability of local governments to provide them with community-based programs. – Rappler.com