By: Elena Grace Flores
In response to this online article from Global Research: http://www.globalresearch.ca/philippines-malaysia-conflict-drop-the-sabah-claim-focus-on-the-bangsamoro-agreement/5527954
which is a reaction to President-Elect Rodrigo Duterte’s staking a fresh claim on Sabah – and his recognition of Sabah as a Sulu Sultanate of the Philippines territory, this is my take as an International Filipino Writer involved in its painstakingly long investigation.
Up to this date, the Malaysian government through it’s embassy in the Philippines are still offering the Sultanate of Sulu to continue the rent of Sabah – after it was stopped by Sultan Jamalul Kiram when he ran as Senator under former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo with the promise that she will not drop the Sabah claim. Hard evidences of the lease are still kept in the Sultanate of Sulu’s Headquarters in Zamboanga City from the time the British North Borneo Company rented it in 1878. I am a witness of that when I visited the humble HQ in 2005 after working in the United Nations Conference Center in Bangkok, Thailand where discussions over the claim were discussed by peers after Sultan Kiram submitted his plea to the UN tribunal – in which the UN already recognized Sabah as a Philippine property urging Malaysia to settle the dispute in a diplomatic manner based on the documentary evidence.
The very significant situation seen among the citizens of Sabah is that – despite having the Malaysian citizenship, their origin can be traced back to their Filipino ancestors since the 60’s. Most of them just did not have the choice to retain their Filipino citizenship after Malaysia forcibly took the ownership from the Sultanate of Sulu. The Sabah claim has been kept alive not just for political reasons but just waiting for the right time and alliances. During the time of then President Diosdado Macapagal and Ferdinand E. Marcos, there’s no stopping the Philippines from claiming back Sabah – but media propaganda paved its way into the presidency of Marcos when Ninoy Aquino then Senator connive with the Malaysians to block Marcos’s agenda in claiming it.
Now President Duterte, who is very vocal that his ancestors are pro-Marcos, still retains the strong alliance with the Marcoses and even displayed his loyalty to the son, Bongbong Marcos who just lost his Vice Presidential bid to a Liberal Party bet, Leni Robredo amidst fraud protests. She belongs to the same party of the Philippine traitor, Ninoy Aquino – and she is not getting a cabinet position under Duterte’s reign. She would probably end up as a “door mat” Vice President.
Better yet, Duterte vowed that if he cannot do his promises within 3 to 6 months time, he will turn over the presidency to Bongbong Marcos. Marcos also will redraft the Bangsamoro Law after finding out that many points in there are unconstitutional and some are to the Malaysians’s favor only. Now, if you are someone who doen’t know the real history well enough, it would be unfair to urge president Duterte – that
instead of pursuing the Sabah claim, he should push for the realization of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro by the Philippine Congress. The peace Agreement signed between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on the 27th of March 2014 in Manila that paved the way for the creation of a new Muslim autonomous entity, the Bangsamoro, in the southern island of Mindanao is not a guarantee that there will be peace.
Duterte might be adopting the Bangsamoro law under Federalism but only after the approval of the new draft by Senator Bongbong Marcos. Most Filipinos have Muslim origin as per history of the 10 Bornean datus and not only Duterte. Filipinos will never let Sabah go just like that. Blood may be shed and lives will be lost – but if fighting for your sovereign land, it’s worth dying for. Peace and progress will come to the land and to ASEAN after the disputes will be sorted out – peaceful or not!