5 March 2013
Muslim OFWs join calls for Sabah standoff peaceful resolution
As the Sabah standoff and encounters intensify between the Malaysian security forces and the members and followers of Sultan of Sulu, Muslim overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East today join calls for the peaceful resolution of the Sabah standoff while expressing their sympathy to the members and followers of the Sultan of Sulu while the numbers of casualties reached to 27, according to Migrante-Middle East (M-ME).
John Leonard Monterona, M-ME regional coordinator, said Muslim members of their group conveyed to him their willingness to join OFWs organizations in Saudi Arabia and in the Middle East calling for peaceful resolution of the Sabah standoff.
“Expressing sympathy to fellow Muslims now engaged in Sabah standoff, our Muslim brothers and sisters working here in Saudi Arabia could well understand the root of the struggles of the people belonging to the Sultanate of Sulu,” Monterona added.
Jalil, 28, a native of Indanan, Sulu, said, “Legitimate ang claim ng Sultan of Sulu at kaniyang mga nasasakupan, claim eto sa ancestral domain nila na iba ang nakikinabang. Sa tingin ko, handa talaga sila na magpakamatay para rito.”
On his part, Nabil, 34, an undocumented OFW in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and a native of Basilan province, said, “Hindi rin kasi sila at mga Moro binibigyan ng pansin at tulong ng gobyerno. Kaya sila gumawa ng ganung aksyon.”
Both Jalil and Nabil, being Muslim OFWs, said they hope a peaceful resolution to the Sabah standoff ‘para di na madagdagan pa ang mamamatay sa magkabilang panig lalo na sa mga members at followers ng Sultan ng Sulu, dahil dehado talaga sila.’
On their part, M-ME Monterona said, “The obvious one-sided stance of the Aquino administration when PNoy himself issued statements in dealing this confrontation in favor of the Malaysian govt. complicates the issue. It only showed PNoy govt. is incapable in dealing such delicate issue with its counterpart Malaysian govt.”
As an offshoot, Monterona said even the lives and works of an estimated 800,000 Filipinos working in Sabah and Malaysia is now at great risk.
“We could only expect the worst to come when a more stringent internal security measures by the Malaysian government will be implemented that will target the so called ‘stateless Filipinos’ in Sabah and undocumented Filipinos in Malaysia. Crackdown of Filipinos in Sabah and Malaysia is almost predictable amid this on-going Sabah standoff,” Monterona opined.
Notably, Monterona added the PH govt. is reluctant in extending assistance to Filipinos living and working in Sabah and Malaysia during previous intensified crackdown by the Malaysian security police.
“What is condemnable is the gross disregard of the Aquino govt. to provide protection and defend Filipinos in Sabah, which the Sultan of Sulu is claiming back,” Monterona averred.
In previous years, thousands of Filipinos yearly were deported from Malaysia as a result of intensified crackdown of illegals and undocumented Filipinos.
John Leonard Monteria
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No. 00966 559428739