KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Officials of the Philippine Embassy are having difficulty tracking down the names and whereabouts of Filipinos reported in Malaysian media as among foreign nationals arrested in the ongoing crackdown.
"Dapat yan kasi padadalhan tayo ng official communication na galing sa kanila, kundi sa Immigration nila ay sa kanilang Foreign Affairs ano. Bibigyan tayo nyan. Hanggang sa nung Biyernes, last working day ay wala pa tayong natanggap ano," said Consul-General Medardo Macaraig.
Macaraig explained that information on an arrest made by an authority of a country of a foreign national, is usually transmitted by a host country to a diplomatic post. This usually bears the name of the person arrested and where he or she is being kept.
He explained that such information is used by an embassy or consulate in making inquiries and sending representation to government agencies when providing assistance to nationals.
Macaraig said they only got information about the arrested Pinoys from Malaysian newspapers.
But the news reports, according to Macaraig, does not mention the names and whereabouts of Filipinos arrested. It only mentioned that Filipinos are among nationals arrested.
"Papano natin tutulungan kung di natin alam kung Pilipino ba talaga? Ang pangalawang dahilan is nasan yang mga yan? Medyo malaki din ang Malaysia ano. Di natin alam kung papano mo tutulungan ang Pilipino kung nandito, nandoon," he said.
Macaraig mentioned the case of an OFW, who was reported by his relative in the Philippines as among those that was arrested and allegedly hurt by Malaysian authorities while in detention.
Macaraig said with the information provided by his relatives such as the name and telephone number of the concerned OFW, the embassy was able to track down the Filipino.
"Napapuntahan natin yun, sa isa sa ating mga ATN Officer, dahil identified saka may telephone number," he said.
According to the embassy, the Filipino involved was eventually released from detention by Malaysian authorities, when it turned out that the person is a registered overseas worker with necessary travel and working documents.