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Latest News Philippines: SABAH CRISIS –

THE Philippine government appealed anew to Malaysia to extend the deadline for the Filipinos involved in the standoff in Sabah to leave the Malaysian state.

In a late development, the Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday said it was trying to confirm a report that a cousin of Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III has been arrested by Malaysian authorities and is currently detained in Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia.

However, DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said they have not yet received any information on the matter.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario met yesterday with the Malaysian Ambassador to Manila to follow up on their request for the extension of the deportation deadline.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said they have yet to receive any confirmation from Kuala Lumpur about the request for extension which the government made last Friday. The Filipinos were only given until Tuesday by Malaysian authorities to voluntarily leave Sabah.

Hernandez said the Secretary had also requested the Malaysian government to allow the humanitarian ship to dock in Lahad Datu to bring food to the Filipinos and fetch those who wanted to go back to their families in the Philippines.

“The humanitarian ship is now on stand by in Sibutu Island in Tawi-tawi (border between Malaysia and the Philippines) and awaiting the confirmation from Malaysian authorities,” Hernandez said.

The DFA also reiterated its appeal to the members of the Sultanate of Sulu’s “royal army” to leave Sabah “for their own safety.”

Earlier, Del Rosario called on the entire group to go back to their homes and families and vowed to address the core issues the “royal army” had raised.

”We sent the ship to Lahad Datu on a humanitarian mission. We are deeply concerned about the presence of five women and other civilians in the group, and we urge them to board the ship without delay and return home,” he said.

The standoff  began on February 9 when more than 100 Filipinos led by Muda Azzimudie Kiram, the brother of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, entered Lahad Datu in Sabah.

The group said they have claims over Sabah, citing numerous historical accounts and rental receipts from the Malaysian government.

In another development, Vice President Jejomar Binay said he appealed to Sultan Kiram and Malaysia to resolve peacefully their claim on Sabah.

Binay confirmed meeting with Kiram following a standoff in Sabah.

“I confirm meeting Sultan Kiram. He explained to me their position and I listened to him. I then reiterated the position of the Philippine government and renewed my appeal for sobriety. I emphasized that the parties should exert all efforts to arrive at a peaceful resolution,” the Vice President said.


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