Congress urged: Pass reso on Sabah conflict
A former presidential advisor on Friday urged Congress to pass a resolution that would compel government to resolve the Sabah conflict peacefully.
Amina Rasul, lead convenor of the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID), said both chambers should state their stand on the Sabah conflict.
“We call on the Philippine Senate and the House of Representatives to pass a resolution expressing the sense of both chambers on the Lahad Datu crisis and to authorize the executive branch to pursue the Sabah claim peacefully and legally, and to ensure the protection of Filipinos residing in Sabah,” she said in a statement.
“We pray that leaders, Filipino and Malaysian, will prioritize the lives of citizens and the peace and security of both our countries,” added Rasul, who was advisor on youth affairs during the time of former President Fidel Ramos. Amina is also the daughter of former Senator Santanina Rasul.
The younger Rasul also called on the Aquino administration to form a crisis committee to address the Sabah conflict, which according to a Reuters report, has claimed the lives of 60 followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III.
The committee should be headed by the Office of the President and include the National Security Council, Department of Foreign Affairs, National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Commission on Human Rights, and representatives of the sultanate and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
“The CC shall endeavor to address the present crisis in Sabah through legal avenues available, within the framework of international, regional and bilateral treaties, accords and other legal instruments binding on Malaysia and the Philippines,” Rasul said.
Coincidentally, the PCID said the Sabah conflict comes at a time of the commemoration of the Jabidah massacre on March 18. During the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos, around 60 young Tausug soldiers – who were trained in Corregidor as part of Marcos' top secret plan to invade Sabah – were summarily executed.
Crisis management committee
Crisis management committee
Meanwhile, a crisis management committee has already been set up in Tawi-Tawi, Basilan and Sulu following the meeting of the ARMM government with the Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command, according to acting ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman.
The appointed emissary also said the crisis management team would attend to the needs of the covered areas in case violence spills over.
“Kami ho sa crisis management, naghahanda kami at nagpe-prepare ano 'yung mga immediate needs nila kung ano man ang magiging emergency response natin sa pangangailangan natin,” Hataman said in an interview Friday on GMA News TV's “News To Go.”
He added that the Sabah crisis already affected the 600,000 to 800,000 Filipinos residing in Sabah.
“Alam naman natin usually kung mayroong ganitong krisis, dahil marami tayong mga kababayang Pilipino na nasa Sabah, Malaysia around 600,000 to 800,000 at kung magkaroon ng matinding hidwaan dito, hindi natin maa-address peacefully sa madaling panahon,” Hataman said.
Last February, Kiram sent around 300 followers to fight for a territorial stake on Sabah, a resource-rich part of the Borneo island, basing their claim on an ancient, historical agreement with the Brunei sultanate during the British colonization in Malaysia.
Jamalul – a son of crown prince Datu Punjungan Kiram – is only one of many other sultans claiming to be legitimate owners of Sabah. — RSJ, GMA News