Aquino on top of Sabah situation, Binay says-A A +A
Thursday, February 21, 2013
MANILA – Vice President Jejomar Binay said on Thursday that President Benigno Aquino III is on top of the situation in Sabah, asking sectors to exercise sobriety and not second guess the President.
"The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is exerting all effort and using all diplomatic avenues to arrive at a peaceful resolution of the Sabah controversy,” Binay said. "That is the President’s priority. Let us not second guess the President.”
Binay said the President should be allowed to make decisions without pressure from personalities or groups.
”He will decide based on what is best for the national interest and the safety of Filipinos in Sabah,” he said.
Binay, who is Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers' Concerns, described the Sabah situation as “delicate,” requiring sobriety.
“This is a very delicate issue that needs to be handled with sobriety. We are very much concerned about the safety of Filipinos in Sabah, primarily our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) there,” the Vice President said.
“For this alone, a peaceful resolution is imperative and that is the goal of our President,” Binay added.
Last week, an armed group of 100 Filipinos claiming to be members of the royal armed forces of the Sultanate of Sulu entered Sabah and reportedly forced villagers out of said area. They also demanded that they should not be expelled from the state.
The gunmen had been cornered by security forces and Malaysian authorities are negotiating for them to leave the area peacefully.
The Philippines has been claiming much of the eastern part of Sabah as part of the Sultanate of Sulu that was leased to the British North Borneo Company in 1878.
In 1963, Great Britain transferred Sabah to Malaysia. The Sultanate of Sulu claimed that it was a violation of the Sabah Lease of 1878.
The Philippine Government is currently coordinating with Malaysia to resolve a standoff in Sabah allegedly involving a group of 100 armed Filipinos from Mindanao.
The DFA urged concerned individuals to return to their homes and families.
Increased patrols and tighter security measures have been put in place in waters off Tawi-Tawi and adjoining islands, the DFA said. (PNA/Sunnex)