MANILA -- Over 200 Filipinos have reportedly been rounded up in Malaysia amid the country's crackdown on illegal workers, according to reports received by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
In a report submitted to the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, a copy of which was obtained by ABS-CBN, the DFA said the Philippine embassy "has not yet received any official report of the total number of Filipinos arrested during the crackdown."
But it cited local news reports saying that 191 Filipinos were arrested in Sabah, and 25 in Labuan.
The same report said a Malaysian, who is not affiliated with any government office and is friendly with the Embassy, placed the total number of arrested Filipinos to 235 (218 Filipinos in Sabah and 17 in Labuan) for the period of January 21 to 24, 2014.
However, until an official report is issued by the Immigration department, information on the total number of arrested Filipinos would be unreliable.
It also showed that from January 21 to 27, the embassy escorted 188 illegally staying Filipinos to the Immigration department to apply for exit passes.
It also reported a case of maltreatment against an arrested Filipino on January 24.
Florito Rosales from Kota Kinabalu, with a valid work permit, was allegedly physically assaulted by an immigration officer.
Rosales told an embassy representative that he was punched in the stomach and hit several times on the head, but refused to pursue a case.
A total of 1,988 Filipinos were able to leave Malaysia after being issued exit passes from January 1 to 21, the report said.
Malaysia's crackdown will supposedly affect 300,000 individuals, of which 20,000 to 30,000 are Filipinos.