DAVAO CITY, Philippines—”What do you want me to do?” an exasperated President Benigno Aquino III asked during a political rally here on Wednesday, explaining his administration’s actions on the Sabah situation.
Speaking at Team PNoy’s campaign held at the Rizal Park, Aquino lamented criticisms that he has been receiving for his alleged lack of actions to address the problem in Sabah.
“Hindi raw po ako maka-Filipino. Kulang raw ang ginagawa ko para sa kanila (They say I am not pro-Filipino, that what I am doing is not enough),” he said.
“Ang gusto po yata nila ipadala natin ang ating buong sandatahan at samahan sila sa marahas na pakikipagbakbakan tulad ng pagtulak nila sa peligro sa ating mga kababayan. (It seems what they want for us to do is to deploy our entire armed forces and join them in their violent means, like pushing our countrymen into disaster.)”
“Gusto ba nilang isubo na rin natin ang 95 milyong Filipino sa kaguluhan? Sino po ngayon ang walang pakundangan sa kapwa Pilipino? (Do they want us to submit our 95 million Filipinos into such chaos? Who has no consideration for our fellow Filipinos now?),” he said.
Aquino added he had always reminded and appealed to the sultan of Sulu and his followers in Sabah to return to the country and peacefully discuss the problem.
At the same time, Aquino maintained that he would not allow one’s personal interest to prevail over the welfare of the majority of Filipino people.
“So ano ho bang gusto nilang gawin ko? Pag pinadala ba natin ang sandatahang lakas natin dyan, yung Malaysia ba hindi mag iisip na; ‘Aba, tumutulong ba kayo sa solusyon o lalaki pa ulit ang problema dahil dumami pa lalo ang mga armado? (So what do they really want me to do? If we send our armed forces there, do they know that Malaysia would think: ‘Are you helping in providing solution or contributing to the gravity of the problem because of the increased number of armed men?)” he said.
“Pag dumating naman po dun ay hind armado baka naman mamaya ma-hostage pa ang ating sandatahang lakas, lumaki na naman ang ating problema.Tama po ba? (If we send unarmed troops, they might be taken hostage, our problem will get bigger. Am I right?)” the President asked the crowd.
“Tama (Right),” the crowd answered back.
Aquino reiterated that the Sabah situation could only be addressed through a fair, peaceful and reasonable dialogue.