More than 1000 illegal Filipinos in Sabah deported, says DFA
MANILA, Philippines — Malaysia has deported more than a thousand Filipinos from Sabah since it began a crackdown against illegal foreign workers January 2014, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Monday.
“Only 1,113 Filipinos from Sabah were processed from their return to their respective hometowns by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) from January 1 to February 19,” DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said in a text message.
He also denied previous reports that 100,000 Filipinos deported from Sabah are in evacuation centers in Tawi-Tawi.
“Upon verification from relevant sources, our Embassy in Kuala Lumpur has determined that there is no truth to the news report that 100,000 Filipinos from Sabah are now staying in cramped evacuation camps in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi,” he replied when sought for comment.
The Malaysian Foreign Ministry announced its crackdown, dubbed “Ops Bersepadu,” against illegal foreign workers last January 10.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) urged the estimated 700,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Malaysia to always ensure that their documents are in order and with them at all times.
According to 2012 records of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), there are 447,590 “irregular” Filipinos in Malaysia meaning those that do not have proper documentation, valid residence or work permits, or are overstaying.
Temporary Filipinos numbered 212,951 while permanent Filipinos were 26,006.
Filipinos are known to be able to get into Sabah illegally through the province of Tawi-Tawi which is around 50 kilometers away by sea.
A dormant claim on Sabah was revived in February 2013 by supporters of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III when they arrived at Lahad Datu, Sabah by boat and asserted their territorial rights.
They were subsequently defeated and rounded up by Malaysia authorities.
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