Don’t attempt illegal exit through Mindanao, Filipinos told
The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday urged Filipinos not to illegally exit the country through Western Mindanao in their bid to reach Sabah and find work in Malaysia.
It said in a statement that a number of Filipinos have already been held by Malaysian authorities.
“Being made to exit via Zamboanga or Tawi-Tawi is a sure tell-tale sign of illegal trafficking and should ring alarm bells to job-seekers, otherwise, they risk apprehension by Sabah authorities for unauthorized entry or fall victim to sex and other traffickers along the way,” the embassy said.
It explained that human traffickers are looking at Zamboanga and Tawi-Tawi because of stricter anti-trafficking measures at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. From Sabah, illegal recruitment syndicates send the workers to Dubai and other places.
“Proper employment visas issued by the embassy or consulate in Manila of their destination country and work permits processed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) are generally required before a Filipino can depart for work overseas,” the embassy explained.
It shared one case involving a Filipina who was supposed to become a domestic helper in Dubai, through Layes Lynian of Al Eternad Labor Supply company in Manila.
The Filipina’s husband told the embassy that his wife and the other recruits were made to board a ferry from Zamboanga to Sandakan, Sabah. It was there that they were arrested and jailed.
The embassy said they are working on another case wherein 15 Filipinas were penalized with four to 10 months imprisonment and payment of fines.
The women, who were promised work as household workers in Dubai, were recruited through Facebook by someone named Flordeliza Flores Eborde before they were instructed by a certain Ms. Venus to go to Palawan. From Palawan, they boarded a speedboat to Sabah where they were apprehended.
“We have seen all too often these sad cases of job seekers who end in a foreign jail or in the hands of sex traffickers. These are risks not worth taking,” the embassy said.
It pointed out that immigration regulations are being strictly enforced in Sabah with a nighttime curfew also implemented.
The embassy also lauded the decision of the Bureau of Immigration to send more officers and intelligence agents to monitor six stations in Mindanao and Palawan, in response to reports that foreign terrorists are entering the country through Mindanao. RAM/rga
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