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Statement of Sen. Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, on the 45th Anniversary Commemoration of Jabidah Massacre

March 19, 2013

“I welcome the President’s directive for the DFA, DOJ, and the Executive Secretary to propose a roadmap towards the peaceful resolution of the Sabah issue. It is an issue, or a claim, that deserves closure through peaceful means.

“There have been numerous studies done in the past on the Philippine claim to Sabah. It is time that we confront the issue, whether or not it gives discomfort to Malaysia. Our duty and obligation is to our country and people first.

“The Jabidah incident, which was the subject of inconclusive Congressional investigations more than four decades ago, is a reflection of how numerous issues facing our Muslim brothers have remained unresolved over time. The staggering figures highlighted by the President on the cost of absorbing Filipinos who may be displaced by the recent incident in Sabah speak volumes in terms of what we have been unable to provide them for decades. The specter of their return in massive numbers could be overwhelming; but with or without the recent incident in Sabah, they are Filipinos deserving of government action to reverse the conditions which they have tried to escape by settling in another country.”