PHL working with Malaysia to resolve Sabah standoff, Malacanang says PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 16 February 2013 11:06

Filipino officials are coordinating with their Malaysian counterparts to resolve a standoff allegedly after a group of 100 armed Filipinos from Mindanao entered an area in Sabah.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a press briefing yesterday in Malacanang that the Philippine government and military officials are working with their counterparts in Malaysia to determine the situation.

“Katulad ng sinabi ng DFA, we are trying to ascertain the facts that are attendant to the story. The Philippine Embassy in Malaysia had already dispatched our police attaché to that particular area to see kung ano na ‘yung nangyayari and we continue to monitor the situation,” Valte said.

She said the Palace received information from the Dept. of National Defense that the 100 Filipinos involved in the standoff weren’t armed.

She also said the Philippine government is ready to provide assistance to those involved in the standoff after the Philippine Embassy in Malaysia has made a thorough assessment of the situation.

“As a general rule tungkulin ng ating pamahalaan na tulungan… to help extend assistance to any Filipino abroad where ever they may be. At this point, however, we would like to ascertain the facts first,” she said.

Malaysian authorities said 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 out. 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.