• Melo Acuna

Government prepares for deportees from Sabah

Department of National Defense prepares for deportees from Malaysia

MANILA – Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana said the government has prepared a program for undocumented migrants who are expected to return to the country from Sabah, Malaysia.

At a midday press briefing, he said if there’s a need for the government to fetch them by way of Philippine Air Force’s C-130s or Philippine Navy assets.

“We are preparing for it through the Department of Foreign Affairs as to the number of repatriates and we are looking for quarantine facilities to temporarily house them either in Tawi-Tawi or Basilan,” Secretary Lorenzana said

Diplomatic sources said 500 undocumented Filipinos arrived in Southern Philippines before the lockdown.

It will be recalled Mindanao Development Authority Chairman Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol wrote Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Bin Haji Apdal last April 8 requesting for a possible suspension of the scheduled deportation of undocumented Filipinos in Sabah until after the lifting of the community quarantine and travel restrictions while local and national government prepare to receive and assist the deportees.

In a recent interview, AFP Western Command chief Lt. General Cirilito E. Sobejana said they temporarily housed 500 Filipinos who left Sabah prior to the crackdown by Malaysian authorities. He said they identified an island in Basilan which served as quarantine area for the deportees. (Melo M. Acuña)

Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana. (Screen grab from RTVM/PCOO)

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