Friday, 22 March 2013 00:00
For fear of their lives, at least 272 Filipinos left their homes in Sandakan, Malaysia and evacuated back to the Philippines where they arrived Wednesday here in this city.
Ltjg. Jomark Angue station commander of the Philippine Coast Guard in Zamboanga City disclosed a coast guard vessel fetched the evacuees at Taganak Island where 84 evacuees from Tawi tawi and 75 from Sulu have already been taken to the ports of Bongao and Jolo respectively.
Initially, these people came from Sandakan where they evacuated to Taganak for fear of their lives, Angue said.
He said coast guard medical personnel are also on board the boat to assist the evacuees especially those who are in need of medical attention.
The rest of the 113 evacuees from Basilan and Zamboanga City arrived at 3p.m. at the private Wee Bin Wharf and were picked up by social workers led by Jamila Arasid, Center head for Displaced Persons. They were taken to the DSWD center in barangay Mampang for debriefing and to feed them as well before they will be sent back to their respective homes.
Hamid Asada, a carpenter from barangay Cawit in this city disclosed he has been staying in Sandakan for five years but decided to go home for fear of his life.
“Lahat na ng mga civilian pinaalis na sa lahat na ng lugar sa Malaysia. Isa akong carpenter na five years na doon. Pumunta ako doon may documents, sinaksaktan ang lahat ng civilian doon. Narinig namin maraminng pinatay, maraming na salvage at nakulong, marami na kahit maga bata hinuhuli dahil walang passports. Mayroon kaming narinig sa Sempurna maraming pinatay ang military taga Malaysia,” Asada disclosed.
According to Arasid, the DSWD Crisis Management Committee has now prepared measures to counter the huge influx of evacuees from Malaysia entering the country especially to Zamboanga City . She said their office has prepared contingency measures in case of massive deportation to this city.
Social workers will assist in stress debriefing because many have been traumatized by the incident.
By Nonong Santiago