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July 28, 2015, Tuesday
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  • Sen. Chiz Escudero also resigns from Joint Congressional Oversight Cmte. on Public Expenditures. 3 hours ago |
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  • Belmonte has no plans of castigating 7 Makabayan bloc members after they flashed anti-Aquino banners after SONA. 3 hours ago |
  • Belmonte admits he was embarassed when House Makabayan bloc booed Pres. Aquino after he delivered his SONA. 4 hours ago |
  • Sen. Chiz Escudero says he resigned from Finance cmte. chairmanship so that budget deliberations won’t be affected by talks on politics. 4 hours ago |
  • Sen. Chiz Escudero resigns as chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance. 4 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino’s SONA took about 2 hours and 10 minutes. 22 hours ago |
  • Some congressmen inside the session hall booed & raised anti-Aquino banners right after Pres. Aquino delivered his last SONA. 22 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino: “Our country’s transformation has just begun. Our direction depends on the Filipino people.” 22 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino says the 2016 election will be a referendum for ‘Daang Matuwid.’ 22 hours ago |
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  • Pres. Aquino to the Filipino people: It gives me great honor to serve you. 22 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino says his job is like that of a punching bag. 22 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino tells his siblings that only a few days remain & he will soon stop dragging them to the sacrifices he makes for the country. 22 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino says the late DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo continues to give him inspiration. 22 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino says Mar Roxas’ resilience vs. criticisms is proof that ‘you can’t put a good man down.’ 22 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino praises the members of his cabinet for their work. 22 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino thanks Congress for passing meaningful laws. 22 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino: “It’s time to pass an Anti-Dynasty Law.” 22 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino laments the views of those who are anti-BBL but can’t give a better alternative on how to achieve peace in Mindanao. 22 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino says it doesn’t matter if he is not present at groundbreaking ceremonies so long as projects are properly built. 22 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino says party affiliation is not a basis in implementing government projects. 23 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino gives updates on government’s flood control projects. 23 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino: "The time is avoid responsibility has ended." 23 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino boasts of PNP’s 1:1 police-to-pistol ratio. 23 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino identifies programs to enhance capabilities of the AFP and PNP. 23 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino says gov’t is moving to buy-out the MRT. 23 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino praises the supposed benefits of Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) & K-12 programs. 23 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino says only one labor strike was recorded in 2013. 23 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino says Philippines is now ‘Asia’s Rising Tiger.’ 23 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino hails the huge number of cases filed by BIR Commissioner Kim Henares vs. tax evaders. 23 hours ago |

Sabah intrusion foiled

By Sara Susanne D. Fabunan | Feb. 15, 2013 at 12:01am
100 armed men from Sulu land on island

Malaysian security forces have surrounded a group of about 100 Filipinos that landed on Lahad Datu in Sabah, Eastern Malaysia on outrigger boats from nearby Philippine islands and police officials were negotiating their surrender, according to Bernama, the official news agency.

“(Malaysia) will do its best to resolve the intrusion of a group of Filipino men in Lahad Datu amicably to prevent any bloodshed,” Bernama quoted Prime Minister Najib Razak as saying.

Where they landed. The Map above shows where the 100 Filipinos landed in Sabah, apparently to press their claim on the area that they say is part of the Sultanate of Sulu but which became part of Malaysia in 1963. Inset is Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak who, on Thursday, said Malaysia was doing its best to solve the problem to avoid bloodshed.

Najib  said the situation in Sabah was under control and negotiations were under way to allow the Filipinos to leave the area and return to Mindanao peacefully. “This is what we want because they also have relatives here. Hence, we do not want any loss of life and that is why we have asked them to go home peacefully,” Najib told reporters.

In Manila, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said the two countries “were in touch on the issue” but the details were unclear because “we are still trying to ascertain and complete the facts of this incident.”

“What I’ve said earlier, we are still trying to complete our information Del Rosario told reporters.

Bernama said the Filipinos, who were wearing military fatigue uniforms, arrived in Lahad Datu on Tuesday and were isolated in a secluded area. Police officials said they have been told “to lay down their arms and surrender.”

Gulf News said the armed men belong to the “Royal Army of Sulu,” who were out to resurrect the Philippine’s claim over Sabah.”

“Unconfirmed reports from our sources said that a group who called themselves the Royal Army of Sulu Sultanate is behind the unauthorized armed presence,” Gulf News said.

In 1963, Sabah, which was leased by the Sulu Sultanate to the British since the 19th century, became part of the Federation of Malaysia. The Filipinos protested, claiming that Sabah was never sold to foreign interests.

The military declined to comment on the issue, but highly-placed sources said the men were believed to be the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu, who came from the islands of Basilan, Tawi-tawi and Sulu in Mindanao.

A military official, who asked not to be named, said the Filipinos were unarmed and they decided to sail to Sabah after a meeting in a schoolhouse in Tawi-Tawi because “Sabah belongs to us.”

“Ito iyong grupo na nagki-claim. Nagpulong-pulong sila para pag-usapan kung papaano nila i-continue iyung pag-claim sa Sabah. Tapos my mga followers sila na sinasabing kapag sumama kayo magkaroon kayo ng lupa sa Sabah, bigyan kayo ng lupa,” the official said.

In 1967, an attempt to land Filipino commandos, trained in Corregidor,  on Sabah  and invade Sabah under the “Operation Merdeka” was aborted after the supposed commandos were all but one killed. The lone survivor of the carnage,  Jibin Arula, revealed  what was eventually known as the Jabidah massacre.

Police Inspector-General Tan Sri Ismail Omar said police “formed the first circle to cordon the area, while military personnel made up the second circle.”

“In terms of strength, we have the upper hand in combat power to arrest them. But the government opts for negotiation to break the stalemate so that they leave peacefully to southern Philippines,” Omar said.

“But let the police negotiate with them and hopefully, it will bear fruit and succeed. This is because they cannot go anywhere, they have been surrounded. They have no choice and have to find a solution,” he said.

Lahad Datu is a town in Tawau Division, in the east of Sabah, eastern Malaysia on the island of Borneo. The town, which occupies the peninsula on the north side of Darvel Bay, has population of 156,059 based on the 2000 census.

Lahad Datu is home to Sabah’s population of Orang Bajau and other ethnic tribes, such as the Cocos Island Malays, who settled in the area in the 1950s when the Cocos Islands became part of Australia. Lahad Datu is known for its palm oil refineries.

Wire agency reports said the 100 armed men were believed to be from a breakaway rebel faction, citing “a high-ranking Malaysian government source.”

“We are dealing with 100 armed foreigners from the southern Philippines. The army and the police have cordoned off the place where these foreigners are waiting,” the source was quoted as saying.

He said the armed men were suspected to be from a faction unhappy with the Philippines recent peace deal with the main Muslim rebel group, referring to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The Philippine government signed a landmark peace deal with Muslim rebels late last year to end the 40-year conflict in the south, but some factions have voiced opposition.

“Since Malaysia brokered the deal, followers from the Misuari Breakaway Group have decided to stir up some trouble and create fireworks in Sabah,” the report quoted the Malaysian official as saying.

The Sulu Sultanate was once a powerful kingdom, stretching from Borneo, Southern Philippines to parts of the Visayas. During the height of its power during the 1700s, the Sultanate exercisec control over most of what is now known as Mindanao and eastern Malaysia.

Raja Muda Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram was proclaimed as the 35th Sultan of Sulu during ceremonies held in Maimbung, Jolo last September.

Security on Malaysia’s sea border with the Philippines has been problematic for Sabah, where tens of thousands of Filipinos have immigrated in the past few decades. With Florante Solmerin and Francisco Tuyay
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