Press Release
February 16, 2013


Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, PDP Laban President, today proposed the teaching of the Philippine claim to Sabah in schools to educate the new generation on the historical basis and current status of the claim.

Pimentel made the proposal amid reports that Malaysia had detained a group of around 100 Filipinos from Mindanao who had gone to Sabah to assert the historical claim of the Sultanate of Sulu on the territory, located on the northern tip of the island of Borneo which is part of Malaysia.

By including the teaching of our claim to Sabah in our schools, the Mindanao lawmaker said, "succeeding generations will be able to thoroughly understand the issue and pursue the claim through peaceful means in international courts."

"We have not actually abandoned our claim to Sabah. In fact, until some years back, Malaysia actually paid the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu a fixed amount as rental for their occupation of Sabah," Pimentel said.

"But our claim was sidetracked by events particularly the outbreak of armed conflict in Mindanao when the Moro National Liberation Front launched a separatist movement in the early 1970s," Pimentel explained.

Since then, he said, the Sabah claim had to be put in the backburner as the Philippine government tried to cope with the armed conflict through both the use of military force and political negotiations.

Since Malaysia is a fellow member-nation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN, with whom we have close diplomatic, trade and economic relations, Pimentel said, our two countries can certainly deal with the matter rationally and with good faith defuse whatever tension was caused by recent circumstances in a manner that befits civilized nations.

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