Mar 3, 2013

Status of 800,000 Pinoys in Sabah in jeopardy

MANILA - Malacañang on Sunday urged the followers of Raja Muda Agmibuddin Kiram to think of the possible repercussions of their clashes with Malaysian forces on 800,000 Pinoys who are living and working in Sabah.


In a press conference, Palace deputy spokesperson Abigal Valte said the appeal to the Kirams to surrender was not just to prevent bloodshed but also to protect the interests of nearly 1 million Pinoys in the Sabah state.

"Siguro po ‘yung pagsuko is, again, the best way to prevent the further loss of lives. Ihiwalay po muna natin ‘yung [Sabah] claim. Ang sinasabi naman po ng Pangulo, meron kayong sinasabing kini-claim ninyo. Mali, this has been very consistent from the very start, mali po ‘yung paraan ng kung paano niyo po gustong maresolba ‘yung inyong dinudulog," she said.

"The President has been emphatic about that. The method is wrong. The method has already placed 800,000 Filipinos in jeopardy. And, by continuing to say that all our Muslim brothers will fight—will support them, will fight for them—when, in fact, many Muslim leaders have already said na ‘yung paraan po hindi dapat ganito."

Many of the 800,000 Pinoys in Sabah are illegal migrants, but they are allowed to work there and those with children receive free education and other social benefits.

Asked if the government was prepared for the repercussions on the migrants in Sabah, Valte said: "There are plans now but—except that I can’t talk about them in detail. But ‘yun nga ho precisely ‘yung iniiwasan po natin. Hindi lang ho kasi ‘yung mga more than 200 people ‘yung iniisip natin na nandoon sa Lahad Datu."

More than 200 followers of Raja Muda Kiram are still in Lahad Datu and have vowed to continue fighting Malaysian forces.

"Meron hong marami ding Pilipino na nandoon pa sa Sabah na naninirahan naman po nang maayos at mapayapa doon sa kanila na ayaw nga ho nating maapektuhan. The way the things are going, kung mangyari man po ‘yon, ‘yun nga ho ‘yung ayaw nating [mangyari]," she said.

"We did not want that eventuality [impact on migrants] to happen, and we were doing everything to prevent that, except that we could not get the cooperation of the party."

She urged the followers of Kiram not to involve other Muslims who prefer a peaceful resolution of the dispute.

Asked about the expression of support given by Muslim convert Robin Padilla to Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, Valte said the government cannot force the actor to adopt the state's position.

"Bahala na po. Hindi po namin siya pwedeng diktahan. Bahala na po siya sa kanyang sariling pananaw kung ano po ‘yung dapat gawin. Sa tingin ko marami naman po sa atin, malinaw po e: Tayo po, gusto po natin na magkaroon ng payapang resolusyon."

However, she stressed the importance of peaceful means to resolving the dispute.

"Hindi po kailangang merong magbuwis ng buhay para ho mapag-usapan ‘yung ganitong isyu; at, [pangalawa], wala ho kasing merong karapatan. There is no one that has the right to endanger the 800,000 Filipinos in Sabah and the Republic because of a proprietary claim," she added. - source

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