COTABATO CITY: The latest batch of deportees from Sabah, numbering to 122 individuals, arrived at the port of Bongao, Tawi-tawi, on Tuesday night, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao- Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team (ARMM- HEART) reported.
Lawyer Laisa Alamia, regional executive secretary and concurrent ARMM-HEART chief, said the deportees who arrived on board sea vessel Mid-East Express 2, included 97 adult males; 19 adult females; four boys and two girls.
The deportees carried with them deportation documents from the Embassy of Malaysia.
Since last year, the ARMM has recorded a total of 6,149 deportees from Sabah, an island in the northern tip of Borneo Peninsula being claimed by the Sultanate of Sulu through historical rights.
On March last year, armed supporters of the sultanate stormed Sabah to indignantly express their claim to the island, triggering a bloodbath that killed at least 27 people that included sultanate followers and Malaysian state troopers.
As a result, Malaysian authorities effected the deportation of undocumented Filipinos working in Sabah on efforts to rid the island of illegitimate settlers.
The North Borneo dispute refers to the territorial dispute between Malaysia and the Philippines over much of the eastern part of Sabah.
Sabah was known as North Borneo prior to the formation of the Malaysian federation.
“We are expecting the influx of deportees in the coming months considering that reports reaching us mentioned that many more are in detention in Sabah pending the completion of deportation procedures,” Alamia said.
Alamia said many of the expatriates were detained from two to six months prior to deportation.
ARMM-HEART is an emergency rapid response team that provides coordinated actions by all regional line agencies to limit the impact of disasters in the region. PNA