THE Royal Supreme Sultanate of Sulu Archipelago & North Borneo Islands (RSSSANBI) condemned the alleged atrocities by Royal Malaysian Navy that reportedly harassed and beat up three Filipino fishermen they accosted within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) near the Spratly’s group of islands.
“What right the Malaysian Navy has in committing human rights abuses to our poor fishermen. The Sultanate of Sulu Archipelago has even more historic and proprietary rights than these Malaysians,” Sultan Abdullah Kiram said.
Kiram was referring to the complaint of fishermen from Zambales who were held on May 9, then handcuffed and made to kneel on the deck of the Malaysian ship while being kicked and punched for “encroaching on Malaysian territorial waters”.
“I condemn the unnecessary use of force on our people since their action is irrelevant because their supposed claim of the area is the extension of Sabah economic zone which the Sultanate of Sulu Archipelago has more legal rights.
“Our legal department with lawyers who are experts in international law will definitely scrutinize the incident and we will file a protest in this case in the international arena once our investigation is finished,” he added.
Meanwhile, the newly crowned sultan told The Manila Times he is set to present their action plan on the Sabah issue to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte as soon as he takes over his office in Malacanang.
Kiram, through an emissary, sent his congratulatory message to Duterte being the first president of the Philippines to have come from Mindanao.
“Mindanao is lagging behind in terms of economic development. There is no railway system like the PNR, LRT, and MRT (Philippine National Railways, Light Rail Transport, and Metro Rail Transit). Yet the agricultural products of Mindanao contribute much to the economy in terms of dollar earning out of our export industry,” Kiram said.
The action plan spells out the Sultanate’s stand vis-à-vis the Sabah issue. He said while he is opposed to the dropping of the Sabah claim, the centuries-old Sabah issue should be resolved once for all for the benefit of the Filipino in general, and the people of Sulu Archipelago, in particular.
“I don’t favor of using violent means in pursuing the Sabah claim. This should be solved in a negotiating table between Manila and Kuala Lumpur,” Kiram emphasized.