Duterte allows Malaysia to deport 7,000 overstaying Filipinos in Sabah
President Rodrigo Duterte said he has given his go signal for Malaysia to deport some 7,000 detained Filipinos who have been overstaying in Sabah.
A Malaysian news agency reported Prime Minister Najib Razak has requested Duterte to deport illegal Filipino immigrants detained in Sabah, which is also being claimed by the Philippines.
In a press conference in Davao City following his arrival from a two-day trip to Thailand and Malaysia, early Friday, Duterte said he agreed to the deportation of the Filipinos.
But he asked for time before the deportation takes place. "We cannot expect also Malaysia to absorb them," Duterte said.
Duterte said his government would ask a neutral agency like the World Health Organization, to help the Filipinos.
"Most of them are Tausug (natives) but they are Filipinos and they should be attended to," Duterte said.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, in a press briefing in Malacanang, said deportation of the Filipinos would be done gradually.
"The actual details (of the repatriation process) will have to be worked out," he added. Celerina Monte/DMS