249 more returnees arrive in Tawi-Tawi


Posted at Mar 22 2013 12:01 PM | Updated as of Mar 22 2013 08:26 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman confirmed that 249 more Filipino returnees from Sabah have arrived in Tawi-Tawi last Tuesday.

They were immediately given stress debriefing, counseling and relief assistance.

As of March 20 this year, a total of 1,319 families composed of 3,704 Filipino returnees from Sabah have arrived in Tawi-Tawi and Sulu.

The DSWD said 613 families are now in Tawi-Tawi while 706 families are in Sulu.

Soliman said they were able to provide relief goods to the families as well as transportation assistance to facilitate those who are returning to their hometowns.

"The DSWD was able to provide more than P7.9M worth of relief assistance to these 1,319 families. The relief goods consist of sacks of rice, boxes of sardines and corned beef, mineral water, boxes of milk, and family food packs. Those returnees who do not have places to stay yet are housed in the evacuation centers," Soliman said.

Meanwhile, a One-Stop Shop Processing Center (OSSPC) will be established in Taganak, Tawi-Tawi to assist the Filipino returnees.

This is in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Bureau of Immigration and the Department of Labor and Employment.

"The OSSPC will be open 24/7 to Filipino returnees to readily assist on their stay at the evacuation centers, provide psychosocial interventions, facilitate the issuance of legal documents, provide livelihood, capability building, and entrepreneurship skills, and give immediate referrals for local employment," Soliman said.