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Philippines offers refuge to 3,000 “boat people”

PHOTO CREDIT: Huffington Post

After months of being stranded at sea, about 3,000 refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh can finally find a safe haven in the Philippines.

The Philippines, which is the first country in southeast Asia to open its doors to the undocumented migrants, is a signatory to United Nation’s refugee convention.

PHOTO CREDIT: Huffington Post
PHOTO CREDIT: Huffington Post

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a statement: “The Philippines has extended humanitarian assistance to ‘boat people’ and had even established a processing centre for Vietnamese travellers in the 70s. We shall continue to do our share in saving lives under existing and long-standing mechanisms pursuant to our commitments under the [UN] convention.”

Coloma also denied reports claiming that the Philippine government planned to turn its back on 8,000 migrants aboard overloaded boats.

PHOTO CREDIT: Huffington Post
PHOTO CREDIT: Huffington Post

Neighboring countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia have blocked about 300 refugees from entering their territories. As of press time, there is still no update about the boat which was last seen on Sunday, May 16.

Most of the refugees aboard are Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, a minority group tagged by the United Nations as “one of the world’s most persecuted people”.

PH Raising Hope

United Nations official Bernard Kerblat commended the country’s willingness to provide assistance  to the foreign refugees. On Tuesday, May 19, Kerblat met with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to discuss the best practices of other countries in handling the entry of large numbers of refugees.

Meanwhile, the Philippines’ decision has raised hopes that the region will finally be able to resolve the crisis that has left 8,000 lives at risk of starvation and death.

Joe Lowry, a spokesperson for International Organisation for Migration said: “It is a hopeful sign. We hope the governments in the region would lift their game as well.”

Floating Coffins

Dubbed by the United Nations as “floating coffins”, thousands of migrants are stranded in boats without adequate food, water, and medical supplies.

PHOTO CREDIT: Huffington Post
PHOTO CREDIT: Huffington Post

Some survivors rescued by fishermen off Malaysia and Indonesia last week claimed that passengers are dying of starvation and being thrown overboard.

PHOTO CREDIT: Huffington Post
PHOTO CREDIT: Huffington Post

Believed to be in the area of Andaman Sea and Strait of Malacca, the refugees’  journey to the Philippines is expected to be long and hazardous.



Featured image credits to Huffington Post

Written by mmalabanan

Mini is a work-at-home mom from Laguna. Aside from writing, she's passionate about breastfeeding and homeschooling.

6 Comments

  1. @Mr. Brian Sanborn,
    I hear you.I think you are a very well read and you know a lot of things about my country and my people.Well i agree with what you are saying .I can’t deny the fact of what you said about my country and my government.Have you seen the footages and pictures of those boat people?But mind you Philippines have suffered a lot of stuffed from different suckers with the likes of japanese, spaniards and americans but we are very much independent now.This a decision of my government and even how corrupt and twisted some of them are i am in agree with this decision.To help this people.Let God worry about tomorrow.Who doesnt have a problem with terrorist and leftist and and Illegal immigrants?Even the great America has it!

  2. This is the right time to help a real helpless humans. Let’s practice to be a good human. Let’s show and share our love to every human, let theme fill that love is still existing in this world. Please let’s help even they are good or bad don’t mind it today just help.

  3. I was crrying while reding the article…we are all GOD’s children ..we are brothers and sisters…i am pinoy and i am happyseeing these people being helped and survived by my country…MABUHAYANG PILIPINAS.

  4. That’s why you are still lucky Philippines you have a better life than they have. Take them and teach them how to grow.

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