Kiram family: We are not the enemy
Sultanate wants direct talks with PH gov’t
MANILA, Philippines – Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III on Sunday expressed his disappointment over the Philippine government’s stand on the Sabah standoff after their men were called to “surrender without conditions” by Malacañang on Saturday.
At his home at Barangay Maharlika in Taguig, Kiram along with his supporters prayed for a resolution to the Sabah standoff.
They also prayed that the Philippine and Malaysia governments would open their minds and negotiate directly with the Kiram family, with no middlemen involved.
“This is not a joke. Malaking gulo ito. Pilipino kami, tapos mags-side sila sa Malaysia,” Kiram said of the Philippines government.
He stressed that while it is not too late for negotiations, he and his followers are beginning to lose patience.
The Sultan’s daughter, Princess Jaycel Kiram, meanwhile asked the Philippine government to talk to the Sultanate directly.
“Kung talangang concerned sila, ano ba naman ang hirap nang makipag-usap ng direkta, hindi sa middlemen pinapadaan?” Princess Jaycel said.
“This is a national issue, even international. Why can’t our government come to us? We always (say) our lines are open,” she added.
Jaycel said their family is very disappointed as they believe the Philippine government is only echoing the statement of their Malaysian counterparts.
“Bakit tayo tina-tratong kaaway? Hindi ho kami kaaway,” she said. “Ang sakit po na ang gobyerno mo ay ang kakampi, Malaysia.”
She stressed that Sabah belonged to Filipinos and not to Malaysians.
“Ang hawak natin ay historical truth. Ang sandata natin ay katotohanan,” she said.
Jaycel said violence and gunfire spread to Semporna this morning, where Malaysian police have reportedly been rounding up every Filipino with papers or without, even if they were not members of the Sulu sultanate’s royal army.
Sultan Kiram, for his part, said they have been telling their supporters to calm down and refrain from taking violent measures.
Malacañang on Saturday asked the Royal Army of the Sulu Sultanate to surrender in order to prevent more violence in Sabah.
“Ang ating concern sa ating mga kababayan is to save lives. Mas mabuti sa inyo kapag may buhay pa kayo, may pag-asa pa kayo, kaya sumuko na kayo,” said Malacanang spokesperson Edwin Lacierda. “The best thing for them to do is to surrender.”
Last Friday, 10 members of the Royal Army of Sulu died in an encounter with Malaysia police. Two Malaysian policemen were also killed.
Kiram’s supporters have been in Sabah for three weeks now as they insist that the island belongs the Sulu Sultanate and the Philippines.
Sultan Kiram’s brother, Rajah Muda Kiram, was the leader of over 200 armed individuals, although Princess Jaycel said they lost contact with Rajah Muda this morning.