39 Pinoys from Indonesia to be repatriated

A TOTAL of 39 Filipinos apprehended in Indonesia will be repatriated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“Mostly overstaying, may mga ilan na nahuli sa fishing but kalimitan overstaying sa Indonesian,” Lieutenant General Benjamin Madrigal Jr., Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) commander, said adding that their documents have been processed already.

Madrigal attended the opening ceremony of the Coordinated Patrol Philippines-Indonesia last April 10 in Manado, Indonesia. Before flying there, he has already talked with the various agencies regarding the repatriation of the Filipinos there.

They have coordinated with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Consulate, and the Bureau of Immigration.

Some of the to-be-repatriated are undocumented agents while some were fishermen who crossed the Indonesian maritime territory. Those who will be repatriated usually come from General Santos City and Zamboanga City.

Eastmincom public information officer Major Ezra Balagtey said the repatriated Filipinos will arrive on Friday, April 20.

Meanwhile, Madrigal said their Coordinated Patrol exercise with the Indonesian counterpart will be conducted twice this year to further strengthen interoperability.

“As a result of the 36th Border Crossing Committee Chairmen's Conference, we both agreed yung counterpart natin that we will increase the number of coordinated patrols kasi usually once a year lang,” he said.

Madrigal said by next year they plan to do it four times.

“This time around, we are involving different agencies especially on our part of the Philippines,” he said.

Madrigal said the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Navy Reservist, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the Philippine National Polcie (PNP) maritime unit will be strengthening the coordination among themselves in a bid to improve maritime security.