DFA still wants access to Pinoy detainees
MANILA - The Department of Foreign Affairs is still waiting for Malaysia's reply to their request for full access to some Filipinos who have been detained by Malaysian forces in connection with the Sabah crisis. The news broke out 2 weeks ago.
"They have not gotten back to us with a reply re this request. It is very impt for us that we will have full access. Find out exactly how they are...we dont know where they are detained," said DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez.
Meanwhile, Hernandez said humanitarian/consular teams from the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur were able to reach out to Filipinos affected by recent events in Lahad Datu, Semporna and Sandakan.
Hernandez added the 3 embassy teams arrived there on March 8 to assist filipinos in those areas.
In total the 3 teams are composed of 19 Philippine government officials and staff led by DFA Undersecretary Jesus Yabes, Social Welfare Undersecretary Parisya Taradji, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Victoriano Lecaros, and DFA Executive Director Ricardo Endaya.
A 3-man team from the DSWD arrived in Lahad Datu on March 12. They are now helping in manning a mobile humanitarian/welfare desk to further assist affected Filipinos.
A federal land development authority (FELDA) official assured the team that they will help out in allowing the team to visit more evacuation centers.
According to Hernandez, there are currently 451 workers and 350 dependents in FELDA, doing mostly upkeep and maintenance work. There are also a total of 1464 evacuees in 4 of their centers comprising of Filipino, Indonesian, Timorese and local workers.
Hernandez said the humanitarian/consular team will visit more sites today and conduct further mapping out Filipinos in the area. The team in Sandakan is overseeing the departure of Filipinos out of Sandakan to Zamboanga.