Rodrigo Duterte has bared that Malaysia has given the go signal during his two day visit to Kuala Lumpur for the deportation of about 7,000 Filipino illegal immigrants detained in Sabah.
There will be no clemency for the illegal immigrants, Duterte said in a press conference held early Friday morning at the Davao City International Airport after his trip to Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak earlier said Duterte had agreed to Malaysia’s request to deport 7,000 Filipino illegal immigrants detained in Sabah.
Duterte said the Malaysian government has given the Philippines to work on their documents.
“Ang problema doon, yung mga Pilipino walang edukasyon,” Duterte said.
“I will ask government to intervene.”
Part of the intervention, Duterte said, is the setup of education and healthcare services for the undocumented Filipinos. He wants a “neutral agency” such as the World Health Organization to assist with the matter.
“Kawawa yung mga Tausug doon, but they are Filipinos, and they should be attended to,” said the President.
The two governments forged the agreement during the bilateral meeting of Duterte and Razak in Putrajaya on Thursday.
“We have agreed that these Philippines immigrants will be sent back to their home in stages,” Najib said.
The President added that he intends to provide assistance, in the form of hospitals and schools, for the undocumented Filipinos in Sabah while the gradual repatriation is proceeding.
“I will ask government to intervene. We will have to put up schools there, and hospitals because it’s embarrassing, it’s an added cost to [Malaysia],” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Duterte might ask help from “neutral” aid-giving organizations to put up the hospitals but Filipino nurses would likely be deployed.
“We will ask a neutral country, maybe neutral agency rather, [like] WHO (World Health Organization...But let’s deploy our nurses,” he said.
WHO is a specialized agency under the United Nations which Duterte had previously accused of hypocrisy after its officials expressed their concern about his administration’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.
The issue of undocumented Filipino migrants in Sabah has long been a thorn in bilateral ties between the two countries. Malaysian authorities have reportedly abused Filipino migrants during massive crackdowns on their villages and mass deportations.
There are at least 800,000 Filipinos in Sabah, according to 2013 Philippine government estimates.
During the bilateral meeting, Duterte also agreed to allow Malaysian authorities in pursuit of kidnappers to enter Philippine waters.