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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Padilla urges government to fight for country’s rights to Sabah

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Amid the government’s efforts to assert the Philippines’ rights over its territory in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), it must do the same for Sabah, Sen. Robinhood Padilla said.

Padilla, in his interpellation of the bill on the proposed Philippine Maritime Zones Act, said Sabah has many natural resources that can be used by Filipinos, especially those in Muslim Mindanao.

“We must fight for our rights in Sabah. We are talking not of small islands but of a large land mass with oil and minerals that we Filipinos have rights to. If we can assert our rights in the West Philippine Sea, so must we do the same but in a peaceful manner,” he said.

He said that the Philippines already has a law – Republic Act 5446, signed in August 1968 – that regards Sabah as a territory over which the Philippines has acquired “dominion and sovereignty.”

In his first privilege speech in 2022, Padilla pushed for the Philippines to assert its rights over Sabah.

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Padilla said he intends to propose an amendment to the definition of baselines under the Maritime Zones bill, to include the Philippines’ position on Sabah which was provided for under RA 5446.

Sen. Francis Tolentino, who sponsored the bill for the proposed Philippine Maritime Zones Act, agreed to include a line that the Philippines is not abandoning its claim to Sabah, so long as it is phrased properly.

“If we can phrase it properly, I will not object to the amendment, so long as it will strengthen not just the bill but our resolve that what is rightfully ours should be ours,” Padilla said.

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