31 Filipino evacuees from Malaysia seek PAO legal aid


02:27 PM March 18th, 2013

By: Tetch Torres-Tupas, March 18th, 2013 02:27 PM

Filipino evacuees arrive by boat in Bongao town, Tawi-Tawi province, in the southern island of Mindanao late on March 8, 2013. AFP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Some 31 evacuees from Sandakan, Malaysia who fled to Bongao, Tawi-Tawi sought the help of the Public Attorneys’ Office to help their relatives who were detained by Malaysian authorities in Sabah.

In a letter dated March 14, 2013 to Public Attorneys’ Office Chief Persida Rueda Acosta, they said their relatives were detained by Malaysian authorities and their passports were torn apart by the authorities.

“We are among the 523 Filipino evacuees who arrived here in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi on March 13, 2013 from Sandakan, Sabah via Taganak, Turtle Island, Tawi-Tawi. We would like to seek your assistance on behalf of our relatives and kababayan who were left in Sabah without Philippine passports or travel documents,” the letter stated.

“Some of our relatives who were not able to board the motorized launch that brought us to Taganak, Turtle Island, Tawi-Tawi to avoid it from being overloaded were arrested by Malaysian authorities. The Philippine passports or travel documents as presented by some of them to the Malaysian authorities upon their arrest were instantly tore apart by said Malaysian authorities. That until now, we received no news about their situation in the hands of the Malaysian authorities,” they added.

Acosta already referred the letter to Justice Secretary Leila De Lima and Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario for appropriate action.

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