Aquino: Sabah claim not part of agenda during Malaysian trip

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

MANILA -- President Benigno Aquino III will not raise the Philippines claim over Sabah when he embarks on a state visit to Malaysia later this month.

Aquino told reporters that his bilateral meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak when he goes to Malaysia on February 27-28 will focus on peace, trade and commerce.

"Sabah was not part of the agenda. Maraming topics, syempre 'yung bilateral relations sa atin. 'Yung peace, 'yung trade and commerce," he said.

He said Malaysia was also offering livelihood assistance for the Bangsamoro, the political entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao as part of the peace deal between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Malaysia has been the third party facilitator in the peace process between the government and the MILF.

During his trip to Malaysia, Aquino said that he would also ask for the situation of the detained Filipinos who were allegedly involved in the Lahad Datu incident last year.

Armed followers of late Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III went to Lahad Datu early last year to reclaim Sabah. But the standoff with Malaysian authorities ended in a bloody confrontation resulting to the death of several people.

Aquino said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has also been monitoring the situation of other undocumented Filipinos in Sabah.

Regarding the alleged human rights violations committed against the Filipinos in Sabah, the President said, "Wala pa akong nakitang pruweba nitong alleged human rights violations."

"Walang nai-report sa atin ang kaukulang ahensiya ng gobyerno, ng DFA, at pinapaalala sa atin parati, na pati doon sa mga nasa Lahad Datu e, represented sila by counsel. So ongoing ang trial nila. So pinapangalagaan din natin ang karapatan nila through fair and due process," he said. (SDR/Sunnex)

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