Friday, February 15, 2013

PHL to conduct more border patrols to prevent another Sabah incident

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 16): PHL to conduct more border patrols to prevent another Sabah incident

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista said that the military will conduct more patrols in common maritime borders with Malaysia to prevent breakaway factions of Muslim rebel group from entering and creating civil unrest in Sabah.

Bautista issued this statement in wake of the tense stand-off between Malaysian authorities and 200 Filipino Muslims who illegally entered Lahad Datu, Eastern Sabah and claimed the land as theirs last week. Malaysian authorities have contained the incident and placed these individuals in a secure location after defusing the situation peacefully.

"The chief of the Malaysian defense forces, Gen. Tan Sri Dato' Sri Hj Zulkifli Hj Zainal Abidin, has requested us to patrol our borders as they will patrol their side to prevent illegal entrants so that the situation in (Sabah) will get further complicated," he added in an interview during the Philippines Military Academy alumni homecoming in Baguio City.

He also stressed that the Filipino Muslims will soon be repatriated. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier said that the activities of this Filipino group, whose presence in the area remains a mystery, was “not sanctioned” by the Philippines government.

DFA Secretary Alberto Del Rosario sought the assurance of the Malaysian authorities to ensure that the rights of those Filipinos, who the DFA claimed are “permanent residents in Sabah and who may be among the group,” are respected. “In this regard, we therefore urge these concerned individuals to return to their homes and families,” he added.

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