Tag Archives: Sulu Sultanate

[Statement] Civil society urges Malaysia to be consistent as a peace broker; calls for dialogue on Sabah crisis -MPW

Civil society urges Malaysia to be consistent as a peace broker; calls for dialogue on Sabah crisis

Mindanao PeaceWeaverThe Sabah crisis may be hogging the headlines now, but the Mindanao PeaceWeavers (MPW) hopes that the raw passions generated by the politicization of the issue will not derail the collective gains we continue to harvest from the GPH-MILF peace process that is about to wind up.

Indeed we cannot totally insulate the GPH-MILF peace talks from issues that have implications on the ties between the Philippines and Malaysia who is the facilitator of the process. Thus MPW believes that Malaysia must reiterate their commitment to peace by ending the violence in Sabah. Malaysia should enter into dialogue among parties involved to peacefully resolve the dispute the same way that it has sought to do with the GPH and the MILF.

MPW also calls on the Philippine government to pursue the peace process resolutely while it fulfills its obligation in protecting the legitimate and human rights of its citizens affected by the violence in Sabah and the needs of the refugees in Tawi-Tawi and Sulu.

MPW also appeals to the Sultan of Sulu and his followers to maintain their earlier declaration of a unilateral ceasefire and exert all means to resolve the issue peacefully and honorably. We urge them to be mindful of provocateurs that may use their legitimate concerns with other selfish agenda. The Sultanate has made their point.

Once again, we reiterate our message to the governments of Malaysia and the Philippines and the Sultanate of Sulu to: IMPLEMENT A “HUMANITARIAN CEASEFIRE” IN THE CONFLICT-AFFECTED DISTRICTS IN SABAH.

1. CEASE & DESIST MILITARY ACTION & ATTACKS of Malaysian police, army and the followers of Sultan Kiram III by declaring a bilateral ceasefire and cessation of hostilities until the humanitarian crisis is fully addressed.

2. A PUBLIC CALL FOR HUMANITARIAN ACTION to adequately address the humanitarian crisis in Lahad Datu, Sabah and Tawi-Tawi, Sulu.

3. ADDRESS the forced evacuation and deportation of Filipinos and provide immediate consular assistance.

4. ALLOW & PROVIDE SAFFE PASSAGE of independent local and international humanitarian groups to help conduct humanitarian action and monitor the situation

5. NEGOTIATE a consensus on the mechanics of “disengagement” of all armed actors in the conflict areas.

6. URGE for the governments and the followers of Sultan Kiram III to discuss key issues on the table and exhaust dialogical means in conflict resolution.

7. AGREE & IDENTIFY an external dialogue facilitator (specifically from among the ASEAN member-states) in bridging the process.

8. DENOUNCE the reported increasing human rights violations caused by the OPS Daulat of the Malaysian Government in their mopping up operation against Kiram’s followers

9. ENCOURAGE independent and civil society-led fact-finding missions to study and investigate on the status of the human rights situation in the districts of Sabah

10. CALL for a convergence of local and international/regional actors to assist and monitor the refugee situation in the Sulu Islands and the borders of Sabah. Urge for an interagency action from ASEAN existing mechanisms, UNHCR, OCHA, IOM, etc., to facilitate.

With utmost humility, we also request both the GPH and MILF to release a joint statement on the Sabah issue the soonest – not only to serve as an assurance that the peace talks is moving, but also an affirmation believing that the power of dialogue will deliver the promise of humanity in the districts of Sabah and Tawi-Tawi, Sulu.


Agong Peace Network (AGONG)
Bisayang Dako Alang saKalinaw (BISDAK)
Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS)
Interreligious Solidarity Movement for Peace (IRSMP)
Mindanao Peace Advocates Conference (MPAC) – Lawig Kalinaw
Mindanao Peoples Peace Movement (MPPM)
Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC)
Mindanao Solidarity Network (MSN)


Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) – Lead Secretariat
Balay Mindanaw Foundation, Inc (BMFI)
Catholic Relief Services – Mindanao (CRS)
Sentrong Alternatibong Lingap Panligal (SALIGAN-Mindanaw)

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[Blog] THE SABAH ISSUE: The Betrayal to the Republic of the Philippines of Mr. Aquino by Jose Mario De Vega

THE SABAH ISSUE: The Betrayal to the Republic of the Philippines of Mr. Aquino

Mario De VegaI concur with the statement of the Anonymous Philippines (February 28th) that President Aquino‘s February 26, 2013 statement on Sabah issue is problematic.

In fact, I will even argue that the pronouncement of Mr. Aquino is unpatriotic and treasonous. Whatever little respect I have in him is completely gone the very moment I heard him uttered those traitorous words!


Where can you find a president whose allegiance is not with his people but with another state?

I also agree with candidate Dick Gordon that Mr. Aquino is courting an impeachment case against him for not “executing faithfully the laws of the land”. In failing to do so, he is betraying the “public trust and the public and patrimonial interest of the nation.

It is beyond dispute that “the context of this action by the Sultan of Sulu and his followers is beyond question. It is not a power-grab. Neither is it a land-grab. It is a reassertion of their historic, legal and moral right to be in Sabah, the vast track of land in Northern Borneo controlled by the Federation of Malaysia. It was for them the pursuit of a noble cause.”

Anyone can check all the available sources that they can find, whether it is an encyclopedia, atlas, almanac, Wikipedia, history books, etc. In all of them, Sabah can never ever be separated with the Philippines, specifically the Sultanate of Sulu.

Consider the words of Mr. Aquino:

“You are a leader of your clan, and every leader seeks the well-being of his constituents. These times require you to use your influence to prevail on our countrymen to desist from this hopeless cause.”

I wonder who the hell is his adviser on Sabah? Whoever the hell is that creature, he/she should be immediately shot on the spot. I also wonder why it is that this so-called President appears to be ignorant and blur on the whole issue?

Are those words quoted above, the words you want to hear from your so-called Chief Executive?


Following the line of his ‘reasoning’, if one can imagine or construe, what kind of ‘argument’ is that: why is he egging our people to stand up and fight and not be intimidated by giant and bullish China? Yet, when it comes to the Malaysians, he seems to be soft and apathetic?

This is a clear contradiction!

If the question of the ownership of Sabah is a hopeless cause then, how about our cause against China? Is that not a hopeless case, too? Again, that is following Mr. Aquino’s ‘mental mechanism’.

If our cause against China is not hopeless, then how come our cause against Malaysia is dormant?

The aberrant position of Mr. Aquino defies logic and mock reason!

Further, I would like to ask: what is the distinction in our Sabah dispute with regard to our conflict with China? Why in the latter, he is so eager to stand up with the giant (to the point that a newspaper in China and even here went to the point of tagging and calling him/us as a “trouble maker”) yet he is so cautious and soft with regard to the former?

I see no distinction by virtue of the fact that Sabah and
Scarborough Shoal, etc are both our properties and territories.
Why he is not afraid to irritate China, yet he appears to be uneasy to offend Malaysia?

Indeed, there is no shadow of doubt that “it must have been a totally disappointing and devastating feeling for Sultan Kiram and his followers to hear that their noble cause is, for the President of the Philippines, “a hopeless cause.””

Sad but true!

It is my considered view that Mr. Aquino’s call to the followers of Sultan Kiram: “To desist from this hopeless cause” is not merely an impeachable offense but undeniably treasonous and the heights of unpatriotism!

I am ashamed that he is the president of this country.

The duty of a true and valiant president is to be the first one to recognize the claim of the Sultanate of Sulu that “Malaysia has no ownership rights over Sabah and that such ownership rights belong to the Sultanate of Sulu over Sabah which is rightfully within Philippine territory. The position of the Sultanate of Sulu is, in fact and in law, exactly the international claim of the Philippines on Sabah against Malaysia.”

This argument is in conformity with Ambassador Lauro L. Baja, Jr. (A veteran Philippine diplomat. He was the Philippine Permament Representative to the United Nations (May 2003- Feb.2007). Prior to that, he was Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Policy) in his article ‘Don’t play into Malaysia’s hand’, VERA Files, February 27th, when we categorically state that:

Mr. Aquino’s “statements and actions give the unintended consequence of leaning on our own nationals over a foreign power. We may be playing into Malaysia’s hands who have been adopting a studied but cavalier attitude over the standoff. They are exercising acts of “effectivités” over Sabah during this standoff by their actions and even by their silence over our naive pronouncements.”

The “wisdom of doing it in public” (the President’s act of appearing on TV appealing and at the same time chastising and criticizing the Sultan of Sulu over the stand-off in Sabah) has clearly shows that he has no concern with our Sabah claim and that instead of taking the cudgel of our Filipino Muslim brothers, he let them down, worst he even appears to be the Malaysian spokesperson.

The whole thing exploded to his very face!

I strongly doubt if he could still recover the trust and confidence of the people and the public as a whole!

The reaction of the people is swift. Check the Yahoo online survey.

The latest is that Mr. Aquino is viewed by a greater number of our countrymen as pro-Malaysia. What a shame!

The so-called ‘president’ of daang matuwid became the pang-gulo ng kalsadang baluktot!

As Ambassador Baja said:

“The Sabah standoff should rouse the Philippine Rip van Winkle attitude towards our claim to the area. It provides the country with a unique but sensitive opportunity to revisit our claim. If the Philippines can deal with the situation with some diplomatic imagination and finesse it can correct some missteps of the past which led to the current state of helplessness insofar as the issue is concerned…

“The solid legal foundation of our claim still exists.

“In the transfer of sovereignty document which the Sultan of Sulu signed with the Philippine government, it was expressly provided that the transfer shall be deemed voided if the Philippines shall fail to pursue the claim. The sultan understandably feels he is now free to pursue the claim himself.”

Why? Because this President does not give a damn about them, hence I concur that the Sultan had no choice but to pursue their historic claim by themselves.

Indeed, “it is a sad commentary on the Philippines if our own nationals should run to the UN because their government cannot protect their rights. This is not the spectacle our country wants to portray to the international community.”

Professor Randy David is in point where he stated in his article, “The Real Sovereign”, Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 7th that:

The Sultan can very well file his private claims before a Malaysian or international court; he does not need the Philippine government’s consent to do this. Since the Philippine government has not actively pursued its sovereign claim over Sabah, the Sultan is free to seek help elsewhere.

One thing he cannot do is force the Philippine state to go to war for him.


My suggestion is for the United Nations to intervene on this issue and assume jurisdiction.

I welcome their call this Thursday (finally, after weeks of silence) for the parties to stop from killing and wiping out each other.

I also call upon the Organization of Islamic State (OIC) to mediate between the followers of the Sultan of Sulu and Malaysia to engage in a dialogue.

Further, I certainly believe that the intervention of the Sultan of Brunei, as the original historical owner carries some moral and persuasive effect to the contending parties.

The Sabah “invasion”

How could be the act of the followers of the Sultan of Sulu be considered as an “intrusion” or invasion” when said land subject of the dispute is their land?

If Malaysia owned the land, as they are claiming then why the hell up to now they are paying rent, no matter how nominal and small the amount to the Sultan of Sulu?

The use of excessive force

I concur overwhelmingly with Professor Harry L. Roque, Director, Institute of International Legal Studies of the University of the Philippines Law Center that:

“The use of modern fighter jets and air strikes against the followers of the Sultanate of Sulu is illegal. Under human rights law, the use of force in police operations should be absolutely necessary and strictly proportional to the threat posed by the Filipinos in Sabah. Moreover, Respect for the right to life of a police suspect requires that the nature and degree of force used be proportionate to the threat posed by the suspect to the safety and security of the police officers, other individuals and society as a whole. Malaysian Law enforcement officials should, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to force, and in particular, the resort to airstrikes.

“Since the use of force against the Filipinos involved in the standoff is illegal, Malaysia has committed an internationally wrongful act. Accordingly, the Philippine government, in addition to espousing the rights of its nationals, should also demand that the international community should ask Malaysia to cease and desist from further breaching human rights law. It should later be asked to pay compensation to the victims of its use of disproportionate use of force.”

According to the Malaysian authorities, they have already defeated the ‘militants’, yet even their senior police officer is doubting that that is the case. Further, the so-called “mopping operations” have yet to produce the dead bodies of the “intruders”. Hence, what ‘victory’ is this?

The barbarity of war

I condemn Malaysia for using excessive force, in the same vein that I also condemn to the highest degree the acts of the followers of the Sultan of Sulu (if the reports are true) that they engaged in torturing and beheading the police and/or soldiers that they caught!

This is a shame!

Both sides are wrong on this score!

Yes, there is an on-going conflict, but as the American philosopher William James said, there should be a certain degree of morality, even in war.

Why? Because if both sides will engaged in acts of barbarism, then there would be no distinction between the two and the two of them would be no different from animals and scoundrels.

The Cyberwar

It saddens me that the on-going stand-off in Sabah has already spilled to the cyber world!

According to the reports, Malaysian hackers hacked the site of Globe; thereupon in an immediate retaliation, the Anonymous Philippines Cyber Army also hit back and hacked numerous Malaysian sites!

This pierces my heart profusely!

On this juncture, I would like to thank and commend the Anonymous International in their intervention and call for both the Filipino and Malaysian hackers to stop this unnecessary cyberwar.

As they said in an official statement:

“Let us help both The Philippines and Malaysia unite, not find a reason to fight…”

We all have to find a way to stop this fiasco before, a more bigger and much sinister development happen!

According further to the reports, the ‘war-front’ that begun as a single area has now spread to other areas. Now, the front-lines of battle are on three different locations.

So, now how will the Malaysian authorities conduct the so-called mopping operation, if the delineation of the battle-fields is not clear?

I do not know whether the Malaysian authorities are aware of the consequences of its actions!

They claimed that the so-called ‘militants’ and/or ‘intruders’ are numbering from 100 to 300; then why not send 1, 000 to 2, 000 marines or soldiers to subdue them? Why bring in the tanks and the fighter jets?

Are they afraid to fight in a mortal combat those so-called ‘invaders’?

It was also reported that one Malaysian fighter jet instead of hitting the position of the ‘militants’ rather wrongly bomb their own soldiers. Is this a case of a ‘friendly-fire’ or due to some human error or can we attribute this to the stupidity of the pilot?

Yes, they can wipe out and kill all of those ‘intruders’, yet I doubt if that would be the end of the problem!

Do they not know that the sons and daughters and the heirs of those ‘militants’, ‘invaders’, ‘intruders’ will not cease from continuing what their ancestors have struggled for!

The heirs of those ‘martyrs’ will not stop from fighting what they believe righteously belongs to them…

The ‘war’ will not end and this is because of the fault both of the governments of Malaysia and the Philippines…


Jose Mario Dolor De Vega
March 8, 2013

College of Arts and Letters
Department of Humanities and Philosophy
Polytechnic University of the Philippines

Institute of Arts and Sciences
Department of Humanities, Literature and Philosophy
Far Eastern University

The writer has a Master’s degree in Philosophy, a law degree and a degree in AB Political Science. He was previously teaching Philosophy, Ethics and Anthropology at an institution of higher education in Nilai University College at Nilai, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia

As of the moment, he is preparing to publish his first book entitled “Dissidente”. It is a collection of his articles, commentaries and op-ed published by various newspapers in Southeast Asia, including the Philippine Daily Inquirer

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[Joint CSOs Statement] Standoff in Lahad Datu: Engage in Dialogue Now with all stakeholders to resolve the crisis peacefully

March 7, 2013

Standoff in Lahad Datu: Engage in Dialogue Now with all stakeholders to resolve the crisis peacefully

IIDWe the undersigned Civil Society organisations (CSOs) from Malaysia and Philippines are extremely concerned over the on-going standoff between the Malaysian security forces and followers of the Sultanate of Sulu’s heirs, Jamalul Kiram III at Lahad Datu, Sabah. We the CSOs, together with all individuals, organizations and networks, urgently call upon President Benigno S. Aquino III of the Philippines, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak of Malaysia and Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, to disavow all forms of violence, and instead supports dialogue as the primary mechanism for a resolution to the siege.

We are very concerned and worried about the security of civilians in Lahad Datu, Semporna and the surrounding villages and we would like to see a peaceful solution to resolve this ongoing problem. According to media reports, at least 43 people have been killed in Lahad Datu, Semporna and Kampung Tanduo, Sabah.

We believe the situation in Lahad Datu requires swift and peaceful intervention. We urge all parties to resist from using force while remaining committed to dialogue and negotiation throughout this process.

We are also very concerned with the lack of real-time information with respect to what has actually taken place so far in Lahad Datu. Up to this point the information received through the Malaysian news media lacked transparency and created unnecessary rumours and assumptions about the situation. The people has rights to get the information on on-going issues in Sabah.

In this context, we call on the governments of Malaysia and Philippines and the Sultanate of Sulu to:

  • Immediately declare a HUMANITARIAN CEASEFIRE so that agencies concerned can take immediate measures to ensure the safety of women, children, elderly and other vulnerable persons in the affected area. And provide “safe zones” where humanitarian organizations and relevant agencies can install facilities to be accessed by those who are injured and require immediate medical care; 
  • Take immediate steps to end the use of violence and to engage in dialogue with all stakeholders to resolve the crisis peacefully. 
  • Take proper measures to ensure that in the process of resolving the crisis, the human rights of everyone involved are respected and protected especially civilians from Lahad Datu, Semporna and nearby villages;
  • Take immediate measures to secure the safety of journalists who chose to access the area at all times to ensure fair reporting and dissemination of information to the general public;
  • Cease and desist from using excessive force and armed violence to end the prevailing conflict;
  • Initiate an independent and impartial investigation into the killings that has taken place and make the findings of the investigation public.

We fervently dissuade all the principals involved from brinkmanship by instead living up to your respective legacies as genuine leaders of your people with honor and dignity.

We urge you to come to terms with the unfolding of events that has serious implications on many lives and social institutions. We all can’t afford that this will escalate into a grave humanitarian crisis spilling over into other nearby villages aside from Lahad Datu and Semporna, Sabah.

Time is of the essence. The world is looking at you, now.

Civil Society of Malaysia and Philippines
March 7, 2013


Please sign this joint statement to show your concern, support and commitment to resolve the issue in Sabah in a peaceful manner.

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
Women’s Centre for Change (WCC)
Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility
Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)
Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
Justice for Sisters
Seksualiti Merdeka
Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
Community Action Network (CAN)
Persatuan Sahabat wanita Selangor
Community Development Centre (CDC)
Mindanao PeaceWeavers (MPW)
Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID)
Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID)
Free Burma Coalition – Philippines (FBCP)
Active Citizenship Foundation (ACF)
Agri-Aqua Development Coalition, Mindanao
AGONG Peace Network, Mindanao
Akbayan Citizens Action Party
Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL)
Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA)
Balay Mindanao Foundation, Inc
Banwaon One Tribe, One Territory, Mindanao
Center for Peace Education – Miriam College
Citizen’s Peace Watch
Civil Peace Service Program – Southern Christian College
Coalition of Social Development Organizations
Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society
Council of Organized Social Service Agencies in Mindanao
Derepa te Erumanen ne Menuvu, Mindanao
Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)
Focus on the Global South -Philippines
Generation Peace
Gitib Inc., Mindanao
GZO Peace Institute
Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas (HRDP)
Institute for Popular Democracy (IPD)
Interreligious Solidarity Movement for Peace (IRSMP)
KAGDUMA, Incorporated, Mindanao
Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP)
Kebager te Ked-Inged, Mindanao
Kahugpongan sa Mindanaw
KAISA – UP Diliman
Lumad Mindanaw Peoples’ Federation
Mindanao Peoples Peace Movement
Mindanao Peace Advocates Conference
Mindanao Coalition of Development NGO Networks (MINCODE) Secretariat
Mindanao Alliance of Self-Help Societies – Southern Philippines Educational Cooperative Center
Mindanao Congress of Development NGOs and NGIs –Mindanao
Nisa Ul-Haqq Fi Bangsamoro
Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA)
Partnership of Philippine Support Services Agencies – Mindanao
Pakigdait, Incorporated
Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM)
Partido ng Manggagawa (PM)
Pax Christi Institute – Philippines
Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ)
People’s Alternative Studies Center for Research & Education in Social Dev’t (PASCRES)
People’s Global Exchange (PGX)
Philippine Human Rights Information Center (Philrights)
Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
Philippine Business for Social Progress – Mindanao
Philippine Partnership for the Devt of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PHILDHRRA)
Redemptorist Center for Social and Ecological Concerns – Mindanao
SPREAD – Oblates of Notre Dame
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)
Women Engaged in Action on 1325 (We Act 1325)
Women’s Human Rights and Legal Bureau (WLB)
World March of Women – Pilipinas
Young Moro Professionals
Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict – Southeast Asia (SEA-GPPAC)
Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC)
Asia-Pacific Movement on Debt & Development (JSAPMDD)
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific (CATW-AP)
International Peace Bureau (IPB)
ISIS International
Media Defence South East Asia
Network for Transformative Social Protection (NTSP-Asia)
South East Asian Committee for Advocacy (SEACA)

NABODHARA, Bangladesh

Generation Wave Institute

Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF)
East Timor Students Solidarity Council (ETSSC)

Asienstiftung (German Asia Foundation)
Philippinenbüro – Asienhaus
Burma Centre Delhi

Solidaritas Perempuan (SP)

All Nepal Peasants Federation (ANPFa)
All Nepal Women Association (ANWA)

Center For Peace & Civil Society (CPCS)

Prof. Anuradha Chenoy, University of India
Prof. Kamal Mitra Chenoy, University of India
Mr. Ramon Casiple, IPER, Philippines
Ms. Sia Phearum, Director, HRTF Cambodia
Mmk Tggw, Myanmar



Gus Miclat, Executive Director
IID Main Office (Davao City)
Phone: (+6382) 2992574 & 75
Mobile: (+63)9177013099

Lyndee Prieto
Mindanao Peaceweavers (MPW) Secretariat & IID
Mobile:(+632) 9177247579
Email:lyndeeprieto@yahoo.com, lyndeeprieto@gmail.com

Malou Tabios Nuera
IID-Manila Liaison Office
Phone: (+632) 9110205; (+632)4352900
Mobile Ph: (+63)9177247580
Email: iid.manila@gmail.com

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