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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Philippines' Sabah Claim Not On Aquino Agenda

The country's territorial claim to Sabah will not be raised by PNoy during his 2 day visit to Malaysia starting Feb. 27, 2014. Instead the president said he intends to tackle more ways to promote economic relations with Malaysia as well as the government's peace incentives in Mindanao when he travels to Kuala Lumpur. The president however said he would still check the condition of Pilipinos detained for alleged involvement in the violent siege in Lahad Datu last year. He said the Dept. of Foreign Affairs (DFA) hasn't reported any abuses against Pilipino workers in Malaysia but will continue to monitor their welfare especially those languishing in jails. Reports of abuse of Pilipino workers in Malaysia circulated last month following the crackdown against the undocumented foreign nationals. The president recalled that alleged maltreatment of Pilipinos reported in the media during the height of the violent siege in Sabah turned out to be false. PNoy however gave assurances the government would continue to look after the plight of Pilipinos particularly ensure they would get due process amid a crackdown on illegal foreign workers. He said government assistance will be extended to repatriate undocumented Pilipino workers from Malaysia. Legal services have also been extended to Pilipinos facing trial for the Lahad Datu standoff in 2013, he added. We will protect their rights through fair and due process, he said. The president's trip upon the invitation of Razak, comes a month before the signing of the peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation under the auspices of Malaysia. The president acknowledged that Malaysia has contributed a lot to advancing the peace process in Mindanao. Malaysia serves as facilitator in the Philippine government's peace talks with the MILF.  PNoy's said Malaysia's Felda Global Ventures, the world's largest crude palm oil producer, has expressed interest to extend livelihood assistance to the people of Bangsamoro.       
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