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PNoy asks Malaysia to assure safety of 800,000 Filipinos in Sabah

(The Philippine Star) - March 5, 2013 - 4:21pm

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang said Tuesday that it is still looking for ways to peacefully end the standoff in Lahad Datu, Sabah.

"We have done everything possible, and we continue to do everything possible to peacefully end this standoff," Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a press conference in Malacañang.

Lacierda made the statement as he assured that the government remains concerned for the safety of the 800,000 Filipinos living and working in Sabah.

He said that President Aquino has appealed to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to assure the safety of the Filipinos in Sabah who are not involved in the standoff.

:"The government is concerned for the 800,000 Filipinos in Sabah, and also for those men and women and children that the men who joined Lahad Datu -- the men who (were) left behind here in Basulta, in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi," he said.

Lacierda, meanwhile, said that the government had done everything possible to peacefully resolve the standoff in sabah.

"For the past three weeks, we have done everything possible from sending emissaries, asking them (armed followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III) to come back and we will talk, and all these pleas fell on deaf ears. Hindi po nagkulang ang pamahalaang Aquino tungkol sa pagprotekta sa kanila," Lacierda said.

Kiram's men, numbering to more than 200, arrived in Lahad Datu last February 11.

The Sulu Sultanate has said that its army, led by Agbimuddin Kiram, went to Sabah to reiterate their claim over the island, which is formerly called North Borneo.

Malaysian forces started the offensive on Friday last week after Kiram's men repeatedly snubbed calls from the Philippine and Malaysian governments to leave Sabah peacefully.

Reports said that at least 25 people have been killed in the gunfights between the Sulu Sultanate's army and Malaysian security forces.

AGBIMUDDIN KIRAM KIRAM LACIERDA LAHAD DATU MALACA MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER NAJIB RAZAK NORTH BORNEO PHILIPPINE AND MALAYSIAN SABAH SULU SULTANATE
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