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Lobregat calls for stringent policies in handling deportees


Congressman Celso Lobregat is urging the different line agencies of government to strengthen their policies in handling the situation of the thousands of undocumented Filipinos who are expected to be deported in the coming months here as Malaysian government intensified its crackdown on illegal migrants in Sabah.

Lobregat said that the agencies concern like the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Bureau of Immigration (BI), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA),  Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), together with the military and law enforcement units such as Western Mindanao Command (WESMINCOM)), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Philippine National Police(PNP) should come up with policies in stabilizing the existing procedures in processing, documentation and profiling of these deportees when they arrive in Zamboanga City.

“Instead of dropping those deportees off directly at their places of origin, mostly in Jolo, Sulu and Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, they are still being brought and processed here in Zamboanga City, so we must be careful in dealing with them especially in profiling them, because we never know their identities, and perhaps, their immediate families,” Lobregat explained.

Since Zamboanga City has been hosting the processing of thousands of deportees in the past, and because the DSWD Processing Center is also located here, we cannot do otherwise rather than to accommodate all of them before they will be sent back to their hometown or places of origin.

Congressman Lobregat said that ample preparation for contingency measures in coming mass deportation in Malaysia should already be readied in order to prevent last minute dilemma which causes inconvenience to Zamboanga City and to the agencies concern as well.

It can be recalled that Philippine Ambassador to Kuala Lumpur Charles Jose recently urged the estimated 400,000 undocumented Filipinos in Malaysia to avail of the voluntary  deportation program of that host country before it ends on September 30.

Ambassador Jose made the call, in view of the ongoing crackdown by Malaysian authorities against undocumented foreign nationals following the termination of its two-year  rehiring program for foreign workers in June 2018.

The individual should return to the Philippines within the time frame set by the Immigration department and have return arrangements within five days after the issuance of the  exit pass. – Dexter Yap

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