Despite prevailing tension, jobs await Pinoys in Sabah
MANILA, Philippines – Jobs await Filipino workers in Sabah despite the prevailing tensions between the Philippines and Malaysia, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported recently.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said a number of Filipino workers who were deported from Sabah want to go back to the island.
“They were forced to leave Sabah because of their illegal migrant status, but their jobs are still available and they can go back as soon as their documents are processed,” Baldoz said.
The labor chief, however, said majority of the Sabah returnees have opted to stay in the country for good.
As of April 1, the government has recorded a total of 5,745 evacuees from Sabah.
Most of them were deported as a result of the crackdown against illegal migrants, while only about 300 were workers displaced because of the territorial dispute.
Indonesian observers in Lahad Datu
In a related development, Agbimuddin Kiram, leader of the sultanate of Sulu’s royal security force which is engaged in a standoff with Malaysian security forces in Lahad Datu in Sabah, yesterday reported the presence of observers from the Indonesian military.
According to sultanate spokesman Abraham Idjirani, Agbimuddin called him yesterday to report this development.
Idjirani said Agbimuddin told him that the alleged Indonesian soldiers took photographs and measurements of the craters left by bombs dropped by Malaysian planes on sultanate forces in the villages of Tanduo and Kampung Tanjung Batu in Lahad Datu.
“It could be because of Indonesia’s presence in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Indonesia could be pressuring Malaysia to end the standoff,” Idjirani said.
He added that the sultanate forces under the command of Agbimuddin have swelled from 135 to almost 500 with the arrival of an augmentation force from Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi.
“According to (Agbimuddin), the augmentation force is almost 85 percent armed,” Idjirani said.
Idjirani earlier said sultanate fighters have regrouped in Lahad Datu. – Mayem Jaymalin with Mike Frialde