The One Stop Processing Center in Zamboanga City began its operations on Monday, February 14, to assist and alleviate the plight of repatriated Filipino migrants from Malaysia, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) today said.

Labor and Employment Undersecretary for labor relations Manuel G. Imson was in Zamboanga for the operationalization of the one-stop center in the city in coordination with various government agencies. Imson also met with Zamboanga City Mayor Celso G. Lobregat.

This developed as Labor Attache Brenda L. Villafuerte of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Kuala Lumpur (POLO-KL) reported to Labor and Employment Secretary Patricia A. Sto. Tomas that Malaysia has opted to implement a “softer approach” called “Ops Nasihat” for illegal migrants after some 382,000 migrants had availed of the Malaysian amnesty for illegals since October last year.

Nonetheless, Imson said the DOLE-led one-stop processing center shall continue to monitor and assist returning migrants from Sabah. He said that another one-stop center nearer the Philippines’ maritime border with Malaysia shall be set up to assist migrants in the area.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) regional office in Region 9 earlier informed Secretary Patricia A. Sto. Tomas that some 280 repatriates had arrived in Zamboanga City last week, while reports attributed to the DSWD indicated that more than 500 Filipinos from Malaysia had arrived since January this year.

Imson said the DOLE’s Region 9 Office headed by Director Chita DG Cilindro, and the OWWA, POEA, and TESDA in the region shall participate in the new one-stop center’s efforts to assist repatriated migrants from Malaysia together with the inter-agency task force which includes the Zamboanga City and Tawi-Tawi local government units, the Departments of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Health (DOH), and Foreign Affairs (DFA), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), National Statistics Office (NSO), and others.

According to him, the one-stop processing center is actively ensuring the necessary services/assistance to returning migrants from Malaysia as follows:

a) Issuance of passports to deportees and repatriated migrants for possible re- employment in Malaysia;
b) Speedy processing of birth certificates, NBI clearance, and passports courtesy of the NSO, NBI, and DFA;
c) Provision of skills for employment training by TESDA;
d) Provision of temporary shelter and transportation c/o the DSWD to deportees to their places of origin;
e) Medical services by the DOH;
f) As necessary, quarantine by the BID; and
g) As importantly, OWWA-membership processing for OFWs re-applying for
jobs in Malaysia.

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