MANILA, Philippines– A Philippine humanitarian and consular team is now in Lahad Datu in Sabah and working to get access to the members of the so-called Sulu “royal army’’ who refused to leave and would rather fight it out with Malaysian forces.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said Sunday that the Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya and Foreign Undersecretary Jose Brillantes met with Royal Malaysian Police Inspector General Tan Sri Ismail Omar in Lahad Datu to inform them an embassy team was in Lahad Datu in a humanitarian and consular mission to Filipinos affected there.
“We would like to see how we could work with local authorities in further assisting our nationals affected by the situation,” the DFA quoted Undersecretary Brilliantes as saying.
“We are here in Lahad Datu on a consular, humanitarian mission. We would also like to extend consular assistance to the wounded and other affected nationals, and have access to them once practicable,” Ambassador Malaya said.
At press time, DFA spokesperson and Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez said the embassy team continues to work on getting access to affected Filipinos.
Undersecretary Brilliantes was sent to Malaysia last Feb. 25 to assist the Philippine Embassy in handling the situation.
Philippine Embassy officials who are in Lahad Datu as part of the Embassy consular team include Consul General Medardo Macaraig, Police Attaché Charlo Collado, Assistance to Nationals (ATN) officer Mustapha Lucman and Ariel Esparto, Attaché Joy Calip and Police Administrative Assistant Pastor Reano.