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No reason to stay in Sabah, Palace tells sultan’s men

MANILA, Philippines – The supporters of the sultanate of Sulu must return to the Philippines if they want to pursue talks on their claims to Sabah, a Palace official told Radyo Inquirer 990AM on Monday.

In an interview, Strategic Communication Secretary Ricky Carandang said that Malacanang was not ignoring the sultanate’s claim to Sabah but reiterated the government’s call for the members of the royal army to return to the Philippines to discuss the territorial dispute.

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“Not once did we say na hindi natin pinapansin yung claim sa Sabah. Alam natin na may claim ang pamilya Kiram sa Sabah at hindi natin binabalewala ito [Not once did we say that we are ignoring their claim to Sabah. We know that the Kiram family has a claim to Sabah and we are not disregarding this] ,” he said.

Carandang said that President Benigno Aquino III was looking into the issue but maintained that they did not see any reason for the royal army to remain in Sabah.

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Strategic Communication Secretary Ricky Carandang. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

“Kung gusto nilang mapag-usapan ang issue ng Sabah eh napapagusapan na at pinagaaralan na ito. Sa tingin namin wala na silang dahilan para manatili pa doon [If they want talks on the Sabah issue, it is being discussed. We see no reason why they need to stay in Sabah],” he said.

“We say, study the claim here at home and look for the proper time and means to address the issue,” he added.

Carandang said the President sought to resolve the issue peacefully, insisting that the Kirams’ method of sending an armed group to claim Sabah by force from the Malaysian government was wrong.

“Pupunta kayo dun na armado at hahamunin ang Malaysian government… bumalik na po kayo dahil walang mabuting maidudulot ang paraan ninyo. Ayaw nating mauwi sa karahasan ito,” said the  Palace aide.

Carandang also pointed out that Filipinos who are living in Sabah have been caught in the middle of the clashes between followers of the sultanate and the Malaysian forces.

“Ang ginagawa ng mga Kiram, ano ba ang nagiging epekto sa 800,000 na Pilipinong naninirahan sa Sabah? Kung sila ngayon ay iniipit or are being viewed with suspicion, dahil sa ginagawa ng mga Kiram nalalagay sila sa alanganin,” he said.

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TAGS: conflicts, Malacañang, Philippines, Ricky Carandang, Sabah
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