Less than 1 pct of undocumented Pinoys sought amnesty
MANILA - The Philippine Embassy in Malaysia is ready to provide assistance to Filipinos who might be affected by an intensified crackdown on undocumented migrants.
Speaking to ANC, Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Charles Jose said they have yet to receive reports of immigration-related arrests since the amnesty program offered by the Malaysian government ended August 30, but they expect the crackdown to intensify in the next couple of weeks.
Jose also said, less than 1 percent of undocumented Filipinos availed of the amnesty program, which ran for more than two years.
"The amnesty program ran for 2 and a half years, but based on the Embassy records, based on the travel documents that we issued, it appears that only 5,844 Filipinos availed themselves of this amnesty program," he said.
"This figure is even less than 1 percent of the total number of undocumented Filipinos, according to our estimates," Jose added.
Most undocumented Filipinos would rather risk arrest than avail of the amnesty program because if they do, they won't be allowed to go back to Malaysia for five years.
"Almost all of them (undocumented Filipinos) are saying because if you avail of this amnesty program, although the prison time is waived and you only pay a fixed amount of penalty, but you'll be blacklisted from entering Malaysia again for the next five years so I think for them, most of them, this is something that deters them from availing themselves of this amnesty program," Jose explained.
Those who will be arrested will be fined and detained.
Jose said the government is ready to help Filipinos who might be affected by the crackdown.
"Even after this amnesty program, the Embassy is prepared to assist Filipinos who will be affected by this immigration crackdown," he said.
"We have to make sure that the affected Filipinos will be treated well, and we have to make sure that they undergo due process and make sure their rights are protected," Jose said.
According to Jose, the government is also prepared to provide legal assistance should those arrested ask for it.