Editorial: Kiram’s move, PNoy’s action-A A +A
Monday, March 4, 2013
AS THE clash between Malaysian security forces and followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III of Sulu escalates, what is the administration of President Noynoy Aquino doing to find a peaceful solution to the rift?
The President announced yesterday that he has sent Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario to Malaysia, a move that can be considered days too late because violence has already erupted, resulting in the death of more than 20 people from both sides.
But as they say, better late than never.
In the meantime, PNoy has been acting like a mother standing at the window and shouting at her son fighting with a stranger on the street. He has been calling on the Sultan’s people now in Sabah to either surrender to Malaysian authorities or to leave the area, which Kiram turned down.
Now he is talking about a “connivance allegedly by members of the past administration” in the formation of Kiram’s armed group. And like Justice Secretary Leila de Lima before him, he is talking about preparing the filing of cases against the supposed conspirators.
There’s no problem about the government working hard to identify the people behind the intrusion to Sabah, but the other angles should not also be forgotten, including the legitimacy of the issues raised by Kiram’s group (from the claim over Sabah to alleged abuses committed by Malaysian authorities on Filipinos there).
One thing easily observable as the crisis unfurled is the back and forth between the President and Malacañang on one side and Kiram and his spokespersons on the other using the media. It’s a wonder why no attempt has been done for PNoy to personally meet Kiram for a dialogue.
Indeed, a dialogue would have take taken out of the equation the discordant verbal exchange between Malacañang and Kiram’s group that raged for days and which gave the impression that government is quarreling with its own people and, worse, selling these people short.
The hope is that whatever happens after this, the Aquino administration would be able to salvage whatever credibility it still has to Kiram and his people and come up with a coherent and acceptable strategy in dealing with the Sultanate of Sulu’s claim to Sabah.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 05, 2013.