PH will assist boat migrants – Palace

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MALACAÑANG on Monday said the government will assist so-called “boat people” who will stray into the country’s shores and not push them back like what Indonesia and Thailand did.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., in a statement, belied a story carried by a major daily (not The Manila Times) that the Philippines will push back refugees from Bangladesh and Myanmar who were abandoned at sea by human traffickers following a crackdown by the Thai government.

“The Philippines has extended humanitarian assistance to ‘boat people’ and had even established a processing center for Vietnamese travelers in the seventies,” the official noted.

Coloma explained that the Philippines, being a state party to agreements on the proper treatment of refugees, such as the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, is one with the United Nations (UN) in calling for assistance to the distressed illegal migrants.


“(The Philippines has) concretely manifested its solidarity with the United Nations in providing succor and relief to persons involuntarily displaced from their homelands as a consequence of political conflict,” the Palace spokesman said.

“We shall continue to do our share in saving lives under existing and long-standing mechanisms pursuant to our commitments under the Convention,” he emphasized.

The UN had appealed to the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)—such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia—not to shoo boat migrants for humanitarian reasons.

Despite the appeal, about 2,500 migrants who landed on Indonesia’s western shores were towed back to sea. Likewise, two boats that crossed the Malacca Strait from the Thailand-Malaysia side were denied entry.

The UN has warned the situation could develop into a “massive humanitarian disaster.”

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4 Comments

  1. What an interesting contrast between two Muslim groups, the Rohingya ethnic people from Myanmar and the Muslim Filipinos from Mindanao and Sulu archipelago. The ethnic Rohingya have no citizenship rights or status in their native country of Myanmar.
    The Myanmar military government does not recognize their own ethnic group, thus having no legal or political status in Myanmar. They are severely persecuted by the government authorities and are treated as illegal aliens and outcast in their own countries. Because the Myanmar government does not recognize their legal status as citizens of Myanmar, they become outcast and refugees in their own country. Because the Rohingya are severely persecuted by its government, they face discrimination, harassment, prejudice, slave labor, and religious persecution. They had no choice but to escape their own country in search for freedom and new settlement. However, no country in Southeast Asia is willing to take them in. Their homeland refuses to take responsibility for the cause of the refugee crisis and refuses to take them back. The Rohingya are starving from lack of food and water and are desperate to reach land. How Ironic it is when one ethnic group of Muslims are rejected by their own country, while on the other hand the Filipino Muslim ethnic minorities of Mindanao and Sulu area
    have legal and political status in the Philippines are citizens of that country, but the Muslims from Mindanao do not want to be part of the Philippines. They want to achieve independence as a self-governing independent Muslim island state, ruled by a Sultan, with its own separate Sharia laws. To achieve their desire, the ethnic Muslims of Mindanao and Sulu has launched a 20 year campaign armed conflict and guerrilla warfare against the Philippine government. This led to extreme groups such as MILF, Abu Sayaf terrorist groups to launch multiple violent attacks on government soldiers and as well as innocent civilians. Their brutal tactics include beheadings of civilians and kidnapping for ransom of Filipinos as well as foreign nationals. From generations to generations the ethnic Filipino Muslims groups of Mindanao have fought unsucesfully to suceed from the Philippines. The Filipino Muslim community does not realize how fortunate they are to have a homeland, where the governement does recognize their legal and political rights as citizens of the republic, not as outcast, undesireable illegal aliens, refugees unwanted in their own country like the Rohingyas. Maybe it is time for the Philippine government to classify the Filipino Muslim minorities of Mindanao and Sulu as non Philippine citizens without any legal and political rights and priviledges. The Rohingyas are desperate to escape persecution and search for freedom and new settlement outside Myanmar while ethnic Filipino Muslims are desperate and determined to sever their ties with the Philippine government. Maybe its about time the Filipino Muslims ride those refugee boats to see and experience the plight of the Rohingyas.

    REPLY
    Hindi po “ruled by a Sultan.” Ruled by the MILF po ang tama. Binabali wala nga po ng MILF and Sultan of Sulu and Sabah e.

    • Dr. Jose Rizal on

      Correction po-po, Not ruled by MILF but the goal or objectives of MNLF, MILF, Abu Sayaf and Jemaah Islamiyah is to create a Sultanate in Southeast Asia of Mindanao, Borneo and other islands under the authority and power of a sultan. An Arabic word meaning “authority”, “power”, “rulership.” Later the word came to be used as the title of certain ruler who claimed almost full sovereignty in practical terms. The MILF, Abu Sayaf and the MNLF are the armed, insurgency, terrorist groups of Muslim Mindnao who acts to speak and fight on behalf of Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, headed by an elected governor. By fully suceeding from the Republic of the Philippines, MILF, MNLF, Abu Sayaf etc. ultimate goal is to create de facto Islamic island state under the authority of a sultan or several sultans, back during Magellan’s and Lapu-Lapu’s time. Po po!

  2. Catalino Garcia on

    We can’t even take care of our own citizens. Now you want to help these migrants. How much did the U.S. government pay the Aquino government to take in these boat people?

  3. William Tubig Dungo on

    how about we just send the refugee to the disputed island in the west china sea to help us counter communist china and give the supplies they need to have real freedom and life just like us. if we can be successful there we all can live happy. i know us filipino are compassionate to the people that needs help.
    instead of giving the west Philippines to the communist Chinese. The refugee people will have a place to live peacefully and happy. GOD Bless us all.