Government urged to resume Sabah claim-A A +A
Monday, February 18, 2013
MANILA -- A senatorial candidate asked the Aquino government on Monday to fully assert the Philippine sovereignty over resource-rich Sabah in light of the standoff there allegedly involving a group of 100 armed Filipinos from Mindanao.
"It has been neglected and sleeping for a long time," said former senator Ernesto Maceda. "It's time to act to regain what is rightfully ours."
Just hundreds of kilometers away from Tawi-Tawi, Sabah has been home to members of Tausug tribe who escaped poverty and conflict in Mindanao in the past years.
The Philippines earlier sought for the inclusion of Sabah in its territory in 1963 after finding out that the area is part of the Sultanate of Sulu, which rented it to British businessmen in 1878.
But the International Court of Justice could not act on the Philippines' claim because of Malaysia's refusal to submit to the process. Relations between the two countries only improved in 1989 when the issue was not given attention by then President Corazon Aquino.
On Monday, armed followers of a Sulu sultan who are claiming Sabah insisted that they will not leave the area despite being cornered by Malaysian security forces.
"A renewed government effort is the only way to stop the followers of the Sultan of Sulu from taking up arms and invading Sabah to press their claim," said Maceda. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)