MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development on Monday said it was looking for the Filipinos who claimed they were harassed by Malaysian authorities in Sabah.
“Ang sabi ng DFA kung may documentation tayo na ganun, magsasampa tayo ng reklamo sa Malaysia (The DFA said if we could gather documentation on such abuses, we will file a complaint in Malaysia),” DSWD Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman said in an interview with Radyo Inquirer 990AM.
As hundreds more Filipinos fled home for fear of being caught in the middle of tensions between the Malaysian security forces and members of the “royal army” of the Sultanate of Sulu, Soliman said they have yet to come across victims of harassment from Sabah.
“Tinatanong natin yung mga bagong dating kung nakaranas sila ng human rights violation… so far, wala pang reported na ganyan (We interviewed those who have arrived if their rights have been violated…so far none complained of being victims of abuse),” the DSWD secretary said.
Although this was a welcome piece of news for DSWD, Soliman still believed that some of the deportees were not giving the full story so they can return to Sabah to go back to their jobs or to reunite with their families there.
The DSWD said that they have sent home 432 Filipinos who have earlier fled Sabah.
Some 289 Filipinos imprisomed for lack proper documentation even before the tension broke out have also sailed home to Zamboanga City.
The DSWD official said that an additional 512 Filipinos came home during the weekend and were also being assisted by DSWD personnel on Taganak Island (Turtle Islands).
A navy boat carrying food packages set sail from Bongao, Tawi-Tawi but rough seas made its journey to bring assistance difficult, said Soliman.
For more of the interview, listen to Radyo Inquirer 990AM. Karen Boncocan