International Working Women’s Day
Women to DFA: Protect OFWs
Sanlakas slams UMNO, BN, calls on Malaysian gov’t to stop “war vs. peoples of Sabah”
Pasay City – Coinciding with the International Women’s Day, a group of women activists trooped to the office of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) today to demand protection for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) working at Malaysia and a “clear and immediate” resolution of the conflict at Sabah.
“It is the responsibility of the Philippine state to ensure the safety of OFWs in Malaysia, many of them are women, whose safety may be compromised because of this issue,” Sanlakas President Manjette Lopez said.
Lopez criticized DFA for its “passive-aggressive foreign policy” after it earlier stated that it will not be supporting the Sabah claim of the Sultan of Sulu, demanding instead the “unconditional surrender” by armed Filipinos in Sabah.
“It is one thing to not support the Sultan of Sulu’s method of struggle; it is another thing to further stoke a war by repeatedly insulting the Sultan of Sulu and ignoring Philippine’s historical claim on Sabah,” said Lopez.
Lopez said that DFA’s plea to the Malaysian government to provide a “safe corridor” for Filipinos “smacks as a token effort” and will not address the concerns of more than 800,000 OFWs in Malaysia, many of them in Sabah and may be “targets of jingoistic discrimination.”
Lopez also asked the Malaysian government, led by the ruling party United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to immediately stop its “aggression against the peoples of Sabah.”
“Filipinos should not pay lives to prop up UMNO’s jingoist stance in preparation for the 13th Malaysian general elections,” Lopez said, adding that Malaysian politicians are looking at Rural Sabah as a prime battlefield.
Lopez added that Barisan Nasional (BN), the Malaysian ruling coalition which includes UMNO, is seeking to cement its vote bank in Sabah and Sarawak area by stoking on “nationalistic sentiments” and ensure a repeat of April 2011 in Sarawak, when BN won 55 out of 71 seats.
“For the followers of Sultan of Sulu, the Filipinos asserting Philippines’ claim over Sabah, and about a million of OFWs in Malaysia, this is a matter of life and death, of sovereignty, and of right to be protected against discrimination. The UMNO-led government’s hawkish stance on the issue is clearly not helping,” Lopez said.
Contact Person: Manjette Lopez, Sanlakas President @ 0922-860-8863
Val De Guzman, Media Liaison @ 0919-965-7509
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