Wednesday, January 26, 2005

NR0126: Malaysia to begin deporting 170,000 Pinoys

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release January 26, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Cellphone number 09213907362

Solon sounds the alarm for 170,000 Filipinos to be deported from Malaysia
beginning February 1

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today sounded the alarm regarding the
crisis threatening to erupt in Malaysia that will victimize Filipino migrants
there. Beltran, vice-chairman of the Special Committee on Overseas Workers'
Affairs said that the Malaysian government is slated to begin its a crackdown
againstPhilippine nationals who are staying illegally in the state on February

"It's very doubtful that the Philippine government is prepared to rescue and
receiving deported Filipino nationals from Sabah. The arrest and deportation
of an estimated 170,000 Filipino illegal immigrants in the state over a short
period could lead yet another crisis for the Philippines," he said.

Beltran said that Philippine officials in Sabah have already admitted that its
impossible for the government to handle the situation if 170,000 people are
deported and made to return to the Philippines almost at once.

"We cannot have Filipinos - including babies and the elderly- being stuffed into
ships and made to suffer the most degrading conditions while being transported.
The Macapagal-Arroyo government should work full-time in negotiating with the
Malaysian government to extend the deadline, even as the Philippine authorities
prepare for the repatriation of the Filipinos,"

Beltran criticized the Macapagal-Arroyo government for for its lack of
proactive response to the plight of Filipino refugees. "Whether government has
prepared contingency measures to help the deportees rebuild their lives or build
new homes remains questionable," he said." The Departments of social welfare
and development, foreign affairs, and health should immediately get cracking
and prepare a contingency plan to secure the health and safety of these

Most refugees hail from Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi far-flung provinces that are
continually gripped by grinding poverty and war. Under these circumstances,
carving out a new life looks dim. After nearly a decade in Sabah, many people
like Uttoh and Nusia have returned to Mindanao only to find that the conditions
that forced them to leave have hardly improved.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had said recently that there
would be no extension of the Jan 31 amnesty deadline.

The impending operations against illegal immigrants from Feb 1 is already an
extension as Malaysia extended the Dec 31 deadline by a month following the Dec
26 earthquake and tsunami tragedy.
The deadline was first extended from Oct 29 in conjunction with the Indonesian
President's inauguration.#


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