ARMM girds for return of illegals
COTABATO CITY, Philippines—The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is preparing a contingency plan in anticipation of another massive exodus from Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur’s deportation warning involving nearly a million undocumented migrants, more than half of them Muslim Filipinos.
The expected influx of refugees became the center of discussion at the two-day ARMM strategic action planning workshop, which started Thursday, according to ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman.
The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur earlier reported to Malacañang that the Malaysian government has started a crackdown on some 889,000 undocumented foreign nationals, more than 600,000 of which are Filipinos.
Of the Filipinos with illegal status, the majority are from the ARMM areas, according to ARMM Executive Secretary Laisa Masuhud-Alamia.
Alamia said that based on data from embassy officials, only about 200,000 Filipinos in Malaysia possess valid travel documents.
She said Malacañang recently asked the ARMM government to prepare a contingency plan for the expected massive deportation of undocumented Filipino migrants.
The last time Kuala Lumpur forcibly sent home Filipinos was during the crackdown on undocumented workers in Sabah following the intrusion of the Royal Sulu Armed Forces in March.
About 10,000 Filipinos, some of whom carry Malaysian identification cards, were sent back to the Philippines. Charlie Señase, Inquirer Mindanao