No discussion of Sabah in framework agreement: Leonin-A A +A
Sunday, October 21, 2012
THE country's claim on oil-rich Sabah in Malaysia was never discussed in the crafting of the framework agreement signed last week by the Aquino government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a negotiator said.
Speaking to a group of environmentalists on Friday, top government negotiator Marvic Leonen said President Benigno Aquino III never ordered them to shake up the issue during the months-long talks in Kuala Lumpur.
"We don't talk about it. The President only instructed us not to cede any part of Philippine territory (to the MILF)," he said.
Just hundreds of kilometers away from Tawi-Tawi, Sabah has been the home of 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.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose government helped broker the peace roadmap, pointed out that the deal may help in resolving the decades-old problem of illegal immigration by Filipinos.
This will be achieved through the setting up of businesses in the proposed Bangsamoro region as thousands of people are expected to get jobs. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)