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200 Deportees from Sandakan

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Two nights ago—March 22, more than 200 Filipino deportees had arrived in our local wharf. They came from Sandakan, Malaysia. All of them are undocumented, thus they were expulsed by the latter. Their faces expressed tiredness, hunger and desperation. Such is how the plight of our hundreds of compatriots, who risk everything just to be able to live a better life somewhere, other than the difficulties in their own hometowns—which they’d to escape hurtfully.

But things were not that easy and also quite unfortunate, because the Malaysian government remains to be strict and stern to their internal laws, with regards to undocumented aliens in their land. Literally, there were times that almost every week, Filipino deportees by the hundreds were unloaded here in our City.

Candidly, amongst some locals, they do not know how to react with the plight of these deportees—because in one hand, their bravery is an admitted infamy, but on the other, they are also human beings who also need the necessary help of the State. The said recent deportees are now temporarily housed at the DSWD.

They are initially processed, and in few days, they will also be sent back to their own provinces by the government. All their fares and other expenses shall be shouldered by the former. This doctrine is what the experts describe as the “parens patriae” doctrine—the State stands as the protector of her weaker and susceptible citizens.

But accordingly, some of these same deportees, after they are sent home and are given little cash, they will brave to return back to Malaysia and again without the necessary documents. In fact, there are some of them who have been deported for several times already, and they have been coming back and forth in such a manner as deportees then.

Well, if you may ask them also, their usual reply is either they do not have any chance to find better jobs here in the country, or that their families are already there in Malaysia. Meaning it is just them who were caught and were deported back to the Philippines. Indeed, each of these folks has his own colorful life’s story.

Filipinos are renowned to any form of survival, and do you know that in the wise of getting into another country without documents Filipinos are also pretty good to it? The thing is, such a story ain’t just true in Malaysia, but even to the rest of the world, where there are at least Filipinos. It is just that, what is often locally reported are the Jalaos from Malaysia.

Barangay eMedia was also at the local wharf, when the boat, which carried the deportees, arrived. We also have footages. Again, as was said they looked hungry, desperate, disillusioned and others were even sickly. But Barangay eMedia saw something, amongst those sea of faces, one exceptional—their extraordinary guts!

There were women and children; there were also, maybe, families who were seen by our field reporters. No one could stand to see their predicament. It is a strong guarantee that you also would be moved to watch them carry their meager bags. Think of it, children cried, probably because they were already hungry, while the old folks and the sickly moved slower.

All of them were received carefully by the personnel of the DSWD. Did you remember that once, Mayor Beng had the idea to request our national government to transfer then the destination port of these deportees, than here in Zamoboanga City. Our good Mayor had her point though, because most of these deportees are from the provinces of Tawi-Tawi, Sulu and Basilan. Thus, it is wiser to anyways bring them straight to ports closer to their original places.

Well, as of now, no developments are heard, and at present La Bella continues to receive these compatriots, with her wide and open arms. After all, we ought to be thankful more that it ain’t us the deportees. In such a case, we are the ones who receive them. Now, there is this another concern, there could be chances also that, unknown to the ordinary eyes, there are those amongst these folks who could be carrying serious ailments, like HIV/AIDS. Who knows?

So in this particular aspect, the inter-agency hands are needed to carefully process them. There was that data, which Barangay eMedia can remember, that one of the factor origins of those who are infected with HIV/AIDS are Filipino expats, who came or at least worked from others countries of the south, like Malaysia. We trust though that this issue is carefully attended then by our local authorities.

“When you sit down to eat with a ruler, observe carefully what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite. Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food. Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven.” (Prov. 23:1-5, ESV)

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