ZAMBOANGA CITY, November 13 (DOLE) – A total of 151 Returning Filipinos from Sarawak, Malaysia comprising the sixth batch arrived in Zamboanga City yesterday afternoon at the Zamboanga International Airport (ZIA) aboard Malaysian Airlines.Based on the data released by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, of the returning Filipinos, 34 are from Zamboanga City, 1 from Zamboanga Del Sur, 31 from Zamboanga Del Norte, 12 from Zamboanga Sibugay, 13 from Tawi-Tawi, 32 from Jolo, Sulu, 11 from Basilan Province while 17 are from other provinces. All returnees have been issued medical certificates following the customs, immigration, quarantine and security (CIQS) protocols at the ZIA.

Upon arrival at the ZIA, the returnees were brought to the Travelers Hub at the Philippine Ports Authority for document validation, profiling, distribution of travel authority. Various government agencies under the Inter-Agency Task Group Western Mindanao – Management of Returning Filipinos from Sabah (IATGWM-MREFS) provided assistance to the ReFs: food packs from OWWA, hygiene kits from DSWD and New Zealand International Organization for Migration, libreng tawag from NTC, medical aid from Philippine Red Cross, DOH and OCD. The Department of Labor and Employment IX (DOLE 9) provided IEC materials and livelihood program application forms to returning Pinoys.

Returnees residing outside of Zamboanga City were directly ferried to their hometowns via vehicles of their respective local government units. Meanwhile, returnees from BARMM shall be housed temporarily at the DSWD-Processing Center for Displaced Person (PCDP) in Brgy. Talon-Talon, Zamboanga City in preparation for their respective flights and trips.

Present to oversee the whole process were Undersecretary Cesar B. Yano of the Department of National Defense (DND) and Assistant Secretary Joseline P. Niwane of the DSWD.

USec. Yano thanked the various agencies present:

“To everyone, thank you for another job-well done. I personally witnessed the commitment of every individual from our Embassy Team to the last driver and food server composing the support group. Let’s also thank the Almighty for the safe flight of our brothers and sisters and hope that they will remain safe in their travels to their respective destinations. Again, we have shown that if we work as one, we can do wonders. Thank you.”

The arrival process was made possible with the help of the following government agencies: Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Office of Civil Defense (OCD), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Ministry of Social Services and Development – BARMM, Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Joint Task Force Zamboanga (JTF-Zamboanga), National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), PNP-Maritime Group, Zamboanga City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (ZCDRRMO), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ), Armed Forces of the Philippines – Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WESTMINCOM), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Department of Health (DOH), Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ), Police Regional Office 9 (PRO-9), the City Health Office (CHO) and the local government units of Zamboanga City and of the ROFs’ home provinces and cities./END