687 OFWs in Sabah face arrest, deportation; ask DFA to release passports

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PASSPORT DELAY. Juvy Ranjit, the managing director of an employment agency in Sabah, files a letter of appeal at the DFA Friday asking to have the passports of 687 Filipino workers released. She said the workers missed the Malaysian government’s amnesty program that expired November last year because of the delay and they are now facing possible arrest and deportation. Matikas Santos/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 687 Filipino workers in Sabah, Malaysia, could face arrest and deportation because of a delay in the release of their passports from the Philippine Embassy there.

Juvy Ranjit, managing director of Pinoy Resources, an employment agency in Kota Kinabalu, flew to Manila from Malaysia and personally went to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Friday to submit a letter of appeal for their workers’ passports.

“We don’t know what’s happening [with the] passports and it causes so much agony on our business as well as losses of income,” she told reporters in an interview.

Ranjit said she came to Manila as the coordinator of an association of employment agencies with 100 member agencies in Malaysia.

She said that the workers were blaming the employment agencies for their failure to give the passports. They are mostly working in the many palm oil plantations in Lahad Datu but many have already been
terminated by the plantation owners for fear of being imposed fines by Malaysian authorities, she added.

“Some were rioting in our offices and throwing things at us. We had to close and transfer [because of fear],” Ranjit said.

The processing for the passports have all been fully paid since seven months ago, she said, showing to reporters a copy of the full list of workers and the official receipts they were issued.
The delay in the release of passports has caused many Filipinos there to miss availing of an amnesty program offered by the Malaysian government to undocumented migrant workers.

Juvy Ranjit, the managing director of an employment agency in Sabah, files a letter of appeal at the DFA Friday asking to have the passports of 687 Filipino workers released. She said the workers missed the Malaysian government’s amnesty program that expired November last year because of the delay and they are now facing possible arrest and deportation. Matikas Santos/INQUIRER.net

“Illegal workers can come forward and have their biometrics taken. Without that they cannot have passports and work permits,” she said.
“They can no longer get their work permits because the amnesty program expired last November. And now it is too late to get their passports and apply for work permits,” Ranjit said.

Because of that, the agencies are the ones being blamed by the workers, she said.

When they had come to the Philippine Embassy in Malaysia to follow up on the passports, they were told that the passports are still in Manila, which left her with no recourse but to personally come and
appeal to the DFA, she said.

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  • disqusted0fu

    The problems of our OFWs keep on piling up because of our very own embassy officials. It’s either that their passports are getting delayed or they are getting sexually abused. The Aquino government must ensure the safety and protection of our supposed modern day heroes. Safety and protection should not be exclusive for the KKK

  • Malaya

    The main problem is that the Philippines Embassy officials in Malaysia are corrupted as hell and demanding for money to release the passports. This is a fact and because 90% of the applicants are muslims they also want to sabotage their only chance to be legalised. this amnesty program was participated by all other foreign embassies and it was a great success, especially for the Indonesian illegals whose embassy managed to issue passports for thousands of their citizens.

  • Malaya

    If I may add further, as a member of the organisation of foreign workers agencies in Sabah myself, the present Ambassador is not fit to handle the welfare of Filipinos in Sabah. Juvy Ranjit has single handedly attended to hundreds of cases of Filipinos in distress without the support of the Embassy. The Ambassador sits in his high chair in KL where only 10% of the Filipinos reside. He turns a blind eye to the plight of the thousands in dire need of assistance in Sabah. We are lucky to have people like Juvy around. And now that their “demands” are not met, they try to sabotage her efforts. Shame on you Ambassador….!

  • Kronos2

    For these OFWs to return home immediately, a travel document can be substituted for a passport and this will enable all to travel back to Philippines soonest. Travel document is just a one page document and much faster to process than a passport by the same agency—the MFA.

    • Angelika Newman

      provided you plead guilty of illegal entry to the police.

  • xxxriainxxx

    First, the Inquirer reporter- Matikas Santos, never bothered to report the side of the DFA so nobody can make an informed comment on this report. Second, too many morons commenting on this article.

  • Angelika Newman

    awww too cute… too neat…

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