MANILA (Mabuhay) — President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday said the Philippines’ claim to Sabah will not be among the topics during his state visit to Malaysia later this month.
“Sabah [is] not part of the agenda. Maraming topics [sa gaganaping] bilateral meetings,” Aquino told reporters after the unveiling of the Estero De San Miguel Project in Manila.
The President said he will discuss during his visit to Kuala Lumpur on February 27 issues of peace, trade, and commerce.
“Pero marami na silang inalok na itutulong, lalo na doon sa Bangsamoro, I think. Parang taga-tulong sa.. livelihood opportunities,” he said.
But he said he also may check on the status of Filipinos in Lahad Datu, the site of the standoff between Malaysian authorities and followers of the late Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram, who asserted claim on what he called ancestral territory.
The Islamic sultanate once controlled Sabah in northern Borneo, including the site of the stand-off.
Until now, the sultanate’s heirs have been receiving a nominal yearly compensation package from Malaysia under a long-standing agreement for possession of Sabah.
In February last year, Justice Sec. Leila de Lima said she is studying the “validity or legal basis of the [Sulu sultan’s Sabah] claim.”
Earlier this year, however, the Palace said the DOJ is still studying the matter.(MNS)