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Filipinos blame embassy for their lengthy detention in Sabah
Published on: Tuesday, June 11, 2019
By: Nikko Fabian

ZAMBOANGA CITY: Majority of the 210 deportees from Sabah who arrived here last week blamed their embassy in Kuala Lumpur for their prolonged detention.

Comprising seven females and 203 males, the immigration violators mostly from the Zambasulta (Zamboanga-Basilan-Sulu-Tawi-Tawi) area claimed their prolonged detentions were due to rare visitation of consular officials to issue the required deportation documents.

Except for a handful who stayed locked-up for 3-4 months, the other deportees told Daily Express their scheduled deportations were delayed for several months and even a year.

The deportees were arrested last year by local authorities during routine Immigration operations against illegal immigrants in Semporna, Tawau, Lahad Datu, and Sandakan .

Upon arrival here, all the deportees were stringently screened by officials from the Department of Social Welfare Development (DSWD) and other local authorities .

“I was kept at the detention centre for 14 months instead of only 3-4 months for being undocumented...during my stay, no embassy officers visited us to issue deportation document,” 57-year old Felking Durin from the Municipality of South Tubian in Tawi-Tawi, said.

He said the failure of the embassy to issue the necessary deportation documents at the detention centre not only prolonged the agonies of deportees but also caused over congestion .

A native of Basilan who only wished to be identified as Arshad said he was arrested in Lahad Datu for immigration violation early last year.

“I am happy now that I am back here...but I am also disappointed because I was locked-up for more than a year,” he said.

Others who do not wished to be identified also expressed their disappointments to the DSWD officials and hope the local authorities will pass their grievances to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila for proper action and ratification of Embassy staff in Kuala Lumpur.

They also said that they were treated humanely while at the detention centres in Sabah.

Asked if they had plans to return to Sabah, they replied they definitely would.



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