MANILA – No Filipinos have so far been arrested during the first day of the crackdown on undocumented foreign workers in Malaysia.
"Nagsimula ang crackdown kahapon ng madaling araw at wala pang nakakarating sa atin na balita na opisyal na may nahuling Pilipino," said Consul General Medardo Macaraig.
Macaraig said they continue to monitor the situation in Malaysia.
On Tuesday, Malaysia began its nationwide crackdown on illegal foreign workers.
Prior to the crackdown, Macaraig said the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur have been assisting undocumented Filipinos secure an exit pass for their repatriation.
Macaraig said that through successful dialogue, the Philippines was able to ask Malaysia to bring down the amount which should be paid by undocumented Filipinos for illegally staying in the country.
"Sa kabutihang palad, pinagbigyan tayo ng immigration ng Malaysia at naibaba ang penalty ng ating kababayan," said Macaraig.
The fine for overstaying is originally set at 30 Malaysian ringgit (approximately P407) per day.
"Pero nung napakiusapan natin bale 500 ringgit po ang total, bale P6,500 [flatrate], mas maliit pa din po kaysa sa 30 ringgit per day. Yung ibang mga kababayan taon na ho ang binilang ng overstay," he said.
Based on their official report, there are about 200,000 Filipinos in Malaysia.
"Subalit yung undocumented, yung estimate natin mas marami pa ho siguro doon. Syempre di naman natin nabibilang. Walang papel. Estimate lang natin yung for purposes of planning," he said.
Macaraig explained the process once a Filipino is arrested for illegally staying in Malaysia.
"Bago po ang crackdown, 14 days siyang nakakulong tapos maguumpisa yung trial, at pag na-convict, usually 2 to 6 months na-detain, tapos ide-deport din po," he said.
He urged all Filipinos in Malaysia to always bring with them their original passport and other documents.
"Pinakiusapan natin yung mga agent at employer nila na ibigay yung kanilang passport at visa po nila para may ipapakita sila sa awtoridad," he added. With a report from DZMM