CORREGIDOR ISLAND, Philippines – Although Malaysia declared on Friday, March 15, that Raja Muda (Crown Prince) Agbimuddin Kiram has fled Sabah, the government says there have been no sightings of him in the Philippines.
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Acting Gov Mujiv Hataman on Monday, March 18, said the situation in Lahad Datu has indeed subsided and representatives of the Philippines in Sabah, led by Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Ed Malaya, are now free to enter areas that were occupied during the standoff.
“First of all, as of now, we have not seen him in the Philippines. But the Malaysian government already has a declaration that there are no more Royal Security Forces in Lahad Datu. And, in fact, the humanitarian mission in places where the Royal Forces were positioned then, as of three days ako, I was able to speak with the head of the CMC (crisis management committee) — si Ambassador Malaya — and they are now able to enter all the areas,” Hataman said in a mix of English and Filipino on the sidelines of the commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the Jabidah Massacre here.
The Kiram family’s spokesman Abraham Idjirani has denied Malaysian Armed Forces chief Zulkifeli Zin’s statement that Agbimuddin has left Sabah.
‘Agbimuddin wanted to leave Sabah’
Hataman revealed that along with Western Mindanao military commander Lt Gen Rey Ardo, he was able to speak with Agbimuddin on “March 1 or March 2” — after the hostilities between the Sabah claimants and Malaysian authorities erupted. During the conversation, Agbimuddin indicated that he wanted to be fetched from Sabah.
“At that time, gusto niyang magpakuha. Pero sigurado ako sasabihin ‘nung taga-Taguig dito na hindi totoo. Pero sabihin ko, from [March] 1, 2, 3, 4, 5—at kami ni Governor Sadikul [Sahali], si Sultan Esmail [Kiram]—nakausap namin mismo si Agbimuddin at that time nagpapakuha na,” he said. (At that time he wanted to be fetched. But I’m sure someone from Taguig will say that’s not true. But I will tell you, from [March 1, 2, 3, 4, 5] — along with Governor Sadikul [Sahali] and Sultan Esmail [Kiram] — we were able to talk to Agbimuddin and at that time, he wanted to be fetched.)
Agbimuddin’s brother, Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, resides in Taguig.
However, that was the last conversation that Hataman — who was one of the government officials Malacañang sent to negotiate with the Kiram family — had with Agbimuddin.
At least 2,631 Filipinos have fled Sabah as of March 13 due to the standoff.
Aside from emergency response, Hataman said ARMM is also preparing for rehabilitation efforts for the evacuees.
One of the projects being considered is to develop at least 2000 hectares of land that can serve as integrated area communities. – Rappler.com
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