ZAMBOANGA CITY — The Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office IX (DOLE9) provided assistance to 97 returning Filipinos (ReFs) from Sabah, Malaysia on July 5, 2020 at the Zamboanga Port.

DOLE9 joined the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Regional Unit IX (OWWA IX) and the members of the Inter-Agency Task Group Western Mindanao – Management of Returning Filipinos from Sabah (IATG-MReFS) in welcoming the ReFs who disembarked from M/V Antonia of Aleson Shipping, a Zamboanga-based shipping company which ferried the returnees from Sabah, Malaysia.

DOLE 9 Regional Director Atty. Roy L. Buenafe said that the bulk of the returnees were already received in Bongao Tawi-Tawi on July 4. Of the 95 who arrived in Zamboanga City, 25 are from Region IX: (Zamboanga City 12; Zamboanga del Sur 5; Zamboanga del Norte 5;  and Zamboanga Sibugay 3).

The disembarkation process was very quick as there were already government personnel on board who took part in profiling and orientation services.

Upon arrival, the ReFS went through basic quarantine procedures and were provided hot meals by OWWA IX and DSWD IX.

DOLE 9 also provided information materials and guidance for reintegration in their respective communities.

DOLE IX will continue to perform coordinative work with the Local Government Units (LGUs) through its Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs) for the provision of employment and livelihood services to the ReFS.

Profile of these returning Filipinos were already forwarded to DOLE Field Offices in the region for appropriate assistance. The REFs from Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay were ferried on the same day courtesy of DSWD IX and their respective LGUs. Those  from other regions will be provided transportation assistance and will be housed temporarily at the DSWD 9 Processing Center.