Binay seeks humane treatment of detained OFWs in Malaysia

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Filipinos who are being detained as Malaysia cracks down on illegal migrant workers should be treated humanely, Vice President Jejomar Binay appealed to Malaysian authorities on Friday.

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Binay, who is the Presidential Adviser on OFW Concerns, said if Filipino workers were proven to be illegally staying in Malaysia, it is just proper that they should be punished, but not abused.

The Vice President made the appeal following reports that even legitimate Filipino workers are being subjected to abuse and torture by Malaysian authorities.

He said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is already looking into reports, saying that even Filipinos with proper documents are being rounded up in Sabah and taken to detention centers where they are forced to admit that they are illegal workers.

“What we are complaining (about) are reports that even our legitimate workers were rounded up and abused. That is no longer humane,” Binay told reporters.

The Philippine embassy in Kuala Lumpur had reminded Filipinos in Malaysia before the crackdown began on January 21 to complete their immigration documentation and always carry identification papers to avoid being wrongly detained.

Malacañang has also directed the DFA to mobilize its consular office in Malaysia to check on the reports.

The DFA said only a few Filipinos have asked the Philippine embassy in Kuala Lumpur for help in repatriation.

Malaysian Interior Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said foreign workers who are found without valid documents would be deported within seven days.

According to reports, one Filipino was “maltreated by Malaysian immigration authorities in Sabah,” the embassy in Kuala Lumpur said it is checking on other possible abuses.

In a statement Friday, the embassy said it is “sending one of its personnel to Sabah to check on the conditions of nationals there and provide the necessary assistance.”

“We stand ready to provide help, including the provision of needed documents and other forms of assistance,” it added.
The embassy said it had been assisting undocumented Filipinos in Malaysia since September, when an initial crackdown was announced.

“The embassy coordinated with Malaysian immigration authorities in facilitating the release of exit passes and in the decrease of penalties levied on overstaying foreigners” and “representatives have been on hand when these Filipinos apply for their exit passes and taking them by the busloads to the Immigration office,” the embassy said.

“We still are and will be undertaking the same assistance for our nationals,” it said.

The embassy said it “continuously undertakes mobile consular missions particularly in Sabah, where we provide not just passports but also birth documentations and other forms of assistance to our nationals” to ensure Filipinos have proper documents.

Among the places the consular missions visited last year, when deadly clashes broke out between followers of the Sulu sultanate and Malaysian security forces, were Kinabalu, Lahad Datu, Semporna, Tawau, Kudat, Keningau, Kota Marudu and Sandakan in Sabah, and Kuching, Labuan, Miri and Bintulu in Sarawak.

This month, a consular mission will be held in Kota Kinabalu.

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1 Comment

  1. gigil na gigil on

    do u know dat 90% of d illegal/undocumentad Filipinos/Filipinas who came were promised jobs in Msia were facilitated by our kababayan.Its sad but true most of d kababayan were already in Msia(mostly Peninsular Malaysia) in cahoots with their friends or relatives in Philippines they hoodwinked other Filipinas to come to Msia as they will be given jobs wd substantial income/salary.However,upon arrival the Filipinas/Filipinos here will instead bring these girls to work in bars/pubs and even flesh industry without any work permit.Yes the girls could earn easy money but at d same time leaving in fear being arrested/and diseases.There are many such syndicates “temporarily “based in Malaysia preying on our kababayan.Disgusting but true.I have on occasions reported to d local authorities here but the case will not proceed as d victims(Pinays) refused to identify /or disclose to d authorities d syndicate’s activities fearing for their family lives in Phil.Honestly,i have no sympathy for such syndicate members even if they will end up floating in Pasig river or d esteros in Quiapo once they are bk in d Phil.u kn w what i mean!