Tawi-Tawi braces for possible influx of Sabah-based Pinoys

March 10, 2013 6:21 am 

CAMP SK PENDATUN, Maguindanao, March 9 — Local government officials in Tawi-Tawi have started taking steps to ensure there will be no chaos ahead of the possible influx of Filipinos from nearby Sabah, Malaysia.

Chief Supt. Noel Delos Santos, police director for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said policemen remained on alert in all municipalities of Tawi-Tawi, the nearest province to Malaysia.

After convening the Provincial Peace and Order Council which he chairs, Tawi-Tawi Gov. Sadikul Sahali appealed to businessmen in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi's capital and in island municipalities not to unreasonably increase prices of basic commodities.

On Friday, Sahali directed gas station owners not to hoard fuel supplies. He even appealed to "takal-takal" gas stations or those selling gasoline and diesel using bottles of softdrinks, to be reasonable and help prevent chaos.

He directed all heads of offices — local and national line agencies — to take appropriate measures in preparation for the possible influx of Filipinos to be displaced by the Sabah conflict.

Prices of basic commodities soared after reports of the coming home of many Filipinos from Sabah to escape Malaysian police forces going after the followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III who invaded North Borneo in February.

As some supplies become scarce, Sahali warned unscrupulous traders they will be dealt with the full force of the law.

Some stores have closed shop due as they have ran out of stocks of basic commodities like rice, sugar, oil, eggs and

According to Delos Santos, police have been checking on reports that some traders are hoarding goods in anticipation of possible crisis.

Vice Governor Ruby Sahali also appealed to the people of Tawi-Tawi not to panic but remained calm as the provincial government is doing its best to avert any crisis situation.

Police and Philippine Marines have imposed curfews to ensure the safety of everyone, according to Delos Santos.

The police and representatives from the Bureau of Immigration are processing the papers of about 80 Filipinos intercepted by Philippine Navy boats in the borders of Tawi-Tawi and Malaysia on Friday.

Acting ARMM Regional Gov. Mujiv Hataman has sent more social welfare workers and health providers to Tawi-Tawi to help the provincial government address the needs of returning Filipinos.

He also directed the regional government agencies to help Tawi-Tawi prevent crisis amid influx of Filipinos from Sabah.

Hataman assured Tawi-Tawi residents that the national government is seriously addressing the problem and ensure no humanitarian crisis taking place in the southernmost island province. (PNA)



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