MANILA, Philippines—The defense department is continuously monitoring developments in Sabah and has moved to thwart any attempt by supporters of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III to reinforce members of its “royal army” in Lahad Datu.
Defense spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez said the Navy and the Coast Guard were tightly watching the coasts of Tawi-Tawi province for any attempt by Kiram supporters to reinforce their fellows holed up in the village of Felda Sahabat 17 in Lahad Datu.
He said the department was also closely monitoring any attempts by Kiram supporters in Taguig City to act following the battle between Kiram’s “royal army” and the Malaysian security forces in Sabah.
Galvez said the government was working to resolve the conflict peacefully and has established constant communication with the defense attaché of Malaysia.
He quoted the Malaysian attaché as saying that the Malaysian government was simply doing what was necessary to allow the rule of law to prevail.
Galvez appealed to Kiram, his family and his supporters to stay calm and to rein in their emotions to avoid further conflict and more bloodshed.
Meanwhile the Philippine National Police said it was prepared for any backlash or spillover of the Sabah incident in the country.
PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr said that police forces in Mindanao area were on full alert and have not lowered their guard.
He said that should there be any security concern among relatives of Kiram in Taguig City, policemen are ready to help them.
While the National Capital Region Police Office has also gone on full alert, it would depend on other areas in Luzon and in the Visayas to assess the situation.
“It would be based on the discretion of the regional directors,” Cerbo said, adding that the PNP has so far not detected the possibility of an imminent spillover.