DND asks Sultan of Sulu to end Sabah standoff peacefully

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03:25 PM February 26th, 2013

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By: Frances Mangosing, February 26th, 2013 03:25 PM

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of National Defense on Tuesday asked the sultan of Sulu to end the standoff peacefully in Sabah.

“There are legal ways of claiming, right now yung ating gobyerno si Pangulo nagtasking na isang grupo, legal team to study the claim of the sultan, yun ang paraan, hindi yung magdadala ng armas dun, magdadala ng mga tao tapos magsasabing kanila, hindi nahuhuli, may batas din ang Malaysia na nagbabawal sa mga ganitong paraan (Right now the President tasked a group, a legal team to study the claim of the Sultan. That’s the right process not raise arms, bring people there to tell them (what they want). Malaysia also has its own laws that prohibit this kind of process),” Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin told reporters in a phone interview.

“Bumalik na lang kayo dito sa Pilipinas upang sa ganun ay hindi magkaroon ng  lamat ang ating relasyon with Malaysia na napakaganda at maawa dun sa mga taong madidisplace kung sakasakaling magkaroon ng gusot at gulo dun sa insidenteng ito (It would be better if they just return to the Philippines so that our good relations with Malaysia won’t be tarnished. They should pity those people who would be displaced if there are conflicts),” he added.

Gazmin said the ball was in Sultan Jamalul Kiram III’s court, if he would end the standoff peacefully.

“Ang sitwasyon ngayon nasa kamay ni Sultan Jumalul Kiram yung bola, nasa sa kanya kung pauuwian nya yung kwan ng mapayapa, makakamit natin yung hinahanap nating, hinahangad nating peaceful resolution ng case, ibang paraan na lang hanapin nya, ang harapin nya sa pagclaim ng Sabah,” he also said.

He also asked Kiram to think of the plight of 800,000 Filipinos there.

“Kung gusto nyang mag-claim merong ibang paraan, hindi ganong paraan na nakakasira ng relation natin with Malaysia….Isipin mo 800,000 yung nandung mga Filipino, yun ang madidisplace kung sakasakaling magkaroon ng lamat.. magkaroon ng deportation proceeding dito sa mga taong ito. Pano natin haharapin itong 800,000 na ito for a while mawawalan ng mga trabaho yan kung makabalik dito,” he also said.

A standoff in Sabah started when followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III went to Lahad Datu in Sabah in a bid to occupy what they refer as ancestral land.

“Well alam mo malaki ang impluwensya ng sultan, ngayon kung talagang pininiwalaan sya ng mga taong ito, yung mga loyalist nya, kung sinabi nya uuwi yan,” Gazmin said.

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