Mission to aid 5,000 Filipinos detained in Malaysia leaves Friday
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – A special humanitarian mission composed of representatives from such government agencies as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will leave for Malaysia on Friday to visit Filipino detainees and deportees there.
Consejo Usman, the assistant regional director of the DSWD in Western Mindanao, said the Philippine government should check out the condition of over 5,000 Filipino detainees in Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Tawau and Sandakan. “We need to see them, find out what their actual conditions are (such as) and (provide) medication” when needed, said Usman.
Usman said the team, including representatives from the Department of Health and Department of Foreign Affairs, would move around Malaysia for five days.
In April, Malaysian authorities reported that nearly 3,000 Filipinos were being detained on various charges in Sabah alone.
Sabah Prisons director Ab Basir Mohamad was quoted by the state-run Bernama News Agency as saying that more than 1,100 or “about 40 percent of the Filipino inmates are serving sentences for drug offenses.”
Malaysia’s Dangerous Drugs Act, which was revised in 1989, prescribes the death penalty for convicted drug traffickers and those who have committed othet capital offenses such as murder.
Among those sent to the death row in Sabah was Jerry Quijano of Barangay Tetuan here.
Quijano, currently detained at the Penjara Kapayan Jail in Kota Kinabalu, was sentenced to death by hanging on September 3, 2010 after he was found guilty of trying to smuggle into Kota Kinabalu nearly a kilo of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu in 2008.
Couple Timhar and Nurie Ong of this city are also awaiting execution in Sabah after they were sentenced to death in 2006 for possession of some 336 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride.
In September, the Sabah court also affirmed the death sentence against 23-year-old Joy Filex for reportedly murdering a local taxi driver in Sabah.
Usman said the team would visit Filipinos awaiting deportation in Malaysia, which numbered nearly 6,000.
In the cases of those awaiting deportation, Usman said the team would coordinate with Malaysian authorities on how to speed up their processing, including the possibility of putting up a “one-stop shop” in Sabah.
Last week, a former official of Sabah’s Penampang district said the Philippines should have greater concern and political will in helping Malaysia solve the problem on illegal migration to the state.
Datuk Philip Lasimbang was quoted by the Borneo Post as saying that “there is no will (on the side of the government) to establish a Philippine Consulate in Sabah.” (With a report from Allan Nawal, Inquirer Mindanao). SFM
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