313 Filipino deportees arrive in Zamboanga City from Malaysia

Robie de Guzman   •   March 8, 2021   •   676

MANILA, Philippines – About 313 illegal Filipino immigrants deported by the Malaysian government arrived in Zamboanga City on Sunday.

This is the seventh batch of deportees among the 5,300 Filipinos to be deported for staying in Sabah illegally.

Of the total returning Filipinos, 226 were from the province of Tawi-Tawi, 31 from Zamboanga City, 23 from Sulu, 12 hail from Basilan and five from Zamboanga Sibugay. The remaining deportees were from other provinces.

Upon their arrival at the local port on Sunday, the deportees underwent strict health screening and swab tests, and were subsequently placed under quarantine to make sure that they have not been infected with coronavirus disease.

Deportees from outside Zamboanga City may stay at the isolation facility for 12 hours until their respective local government units have arranged for assistance and transportation back to their places of origin.

Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco previously appealed to the national government not to make the city an entry point for Filipino deportees from Malaysia due to the threat of COVID-19.

She also said that it would be more practical if the provinces of Tawi-Tawi and Sulu will be designated as the points of referral for returning Filipinos.

“But nonetheless el gobierno local ta hace el apelo con el gobierno nacional (the local government is appealing to the national government) that Zamboanga City should no longer be point of referral for the returning Filipinos and it could be that we have centers already in Tawi-tawi and Sulu,” she said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Val Villaflor)

Philippines, Malaysia to boost bilateral ties amid easing pandemic situation – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2021

 MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is looking to bolster its ties with Malaysia amid improving COVID-19 situation in Southeast Asia, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday.

In a statement, the DFA said that the department’s Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs Neal Imperial met with Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines Norman bin Muhammad last Oct. 18.

Among the things discussed by the two officials were initiatives seeking to revitalize the two nations’ relations across all areas amid easing coronavirus pandemic situation, it added.

“The two officials exchanged views and proposals on how to further boost bilateral trade and investment, address the COVID-19 pandemic, and roll out post-pandemic recovery initiatives, including the careful reopening of borders to gradually revitalize business and two-way tourism,” the DFA said.

The department said that both parties have also discussed counterterrorism cooperation, the promotion of moderate Islam in predominantly Muslim areas, as well as Malaysia’s support for the development of Mindanao.

The two officials also agreed to continue working together to further enhance Philippines-Malaysia bilateral ties, and explore the possibility of reconvening high-level bilateral meetings early next year.

Despite the effects of the pandemic, Malaysia remains one of the Philippines’ top trading partners and investment sources.

During their meeting, Imperial also conveyed the congratulations of the Philippine Government to Malaysia’s newly elected government, the DFA said.

Philippines to lift travel ban on 10 countries starting September 6

UNTV News   •   September 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to lift the current travel restrictions on travelers from 10 countries starting September 6, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announced in a statement on Saturday.

These countries are namely:  India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Nonetheless, international travelers coming from the said countries shall comply with the appropriate entry, testing and quarantine protocols, depending on the country’s approved “listing,” Roque said.

He added that the IATF has adopted the “Yellow” and “Red” classifications, in addition to the “Green List” countries/jurisdictions/territories.

Roque said this is based on the countries’ respective incidence rates and case counts as primary criteria, and testing data as secondary criteria.  The incidence rate is the cumulative new cases over the past 28 days per 100,000 population while case counts are cumulative new cases over the past 28 days.

The government first imposed the travel restrictions on India in April then later expanded to include more countries to stem the spread of Delta variant, the highly transmissible strain of COVID-19.

 

120 repatriated Filipino workers from Malaysia arrive home

Robie de Guzman   •   August 19, 2021

Some 120 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) repatriated from the neighboring country of Malaysia have returned home.

The government of Davao City said the repatriated Filipinos landed at the Davao City International Airport  via a chartered Philippine Airlines flight on Monday.

Davao City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) chief Generose Tecson said the repatriated OFWs will head to different cities and provinces as their final destination.

As in previous repatriation flights to the city, the OFWs will be staying at the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ)-certified and Department of Tourism (DOT)-accredited multi-use hotels.

“They will undergo a 14-day quarantine and will be released on the 15th day. They will be swabbed on the seventh day,” Tecson was quoted as saying in a statement by the city government.

“If positive, they will be brought to the Van City for isolation and monitoring,” she added.

The OFWs presented negative RT-PCR results before boarding their flight since Davao City is enforcing an ordinance that requires mandatory testing prior to entry into the Davao City via the Davao International Airport.

Tight security is also being implemented in quarantine facilities where the OFWs are staying to keep them from going around the city.

Aside from OFWs from Malaysia, a batch of 382 OFWs from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates also arrived in the city on August 6.

This is part of the national government’s repatriation program for Filipinos stranded abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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