Friday, June 24, 2005

Only 19,616 OFWs granted amnesty by Malaysian gov't

By Veronica Uy

SINCE its crackdown on illegal aliens in March, the Malaysian government has granted amnesty to only 19,616 overseas Filipino workers, a far cry from the 150,000 to 700,000 OFWs illegally staying in the Islamic state, mostly in Sabah.

Citing a report of the Department of Labor and Employment centers in Mindanao, Migrante chairperson Connie Bragas-Regalado said of this number, only 611 were issued visas by Malaysian immigration officers.

Migrante earlier sent a team to an eight-day fact-finding mission to DoLE's one-stop processing centers in Zamboanga City and Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, in Mindanao.Regalado said the amnesty program did not include children of deportees, causing family break-ups.

Deportees also described jail conditions in Malaysia as deplorable. "As many as 300 are kept in cells 30 meters by six meters in size. They're too congested and both adults and children share the same cell," she said.

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