Philippine Navy bars 2 boats from Sabah

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Friday, March 8, 2013

MANILA -- Two wooden motor boats from Sabah were intercepted by the Philippine Navy on Friday despite the tight border security being implemented by Malaysian authorities following a standoff there.

Reports said the vessels were spotted near Taganak island in Tawi Tawi. The number of passengers aboard the vessels has yet to be known. The boats will be escorted to Bongao, Tawi Tawi.

Some 800,000 Filipinos are living or working in Sabah but at least 50 people have left the territory following deadly clashes between the Malaysian soldiers and followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, who have since expressed ownership of the area citing historical and documentary evidence.

Kiram's call for a ceasefire was rejected by Malaysia on Thursday.

For his part, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano said the government must prepare for possible mass deportation of Filipinos in Sabah.

"Imagine a situation wherein we suddenly need to find jobs for hundreds of thousands of Filipinos from Sabah and Malaysia on top of the present number of unemployed Filipinos in the country," he said.

The senator raised this concern as he commended Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz's statement that the agency already has a template prepared for dealing with the deportees. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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