MALACAÑANG made an assurance on Saturday that the government is ready to help Filipinos affected by the ongoing standoff in Lahad Datu in Sabah, Malaysia and at the same time called for their unconditional surrender.
In a press conference in Malacanang Saturday, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has dispatched teams that will help Filipinos in need in Sabah.
“We have a medical team, there is food… everything is there. As a matter of fact, DSWD has dispatched even teams to try to seek out the families of those that need to be attended to,” he said.
The teams organized by the DSWD will go in one of the islands near Sabah to try to address those that have been affected, he added.
Asking Malaysia to allow ships from the Philippines to dock in Sabah was one of the diplomatic actions made by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday, Almendras said.
The secretary of foreign affairs requested that a ship from the Philippines be allowed to dock but the Malaysians said it will process the request and the Philippine government has to wait.
“We have to respect that they’re in control of the situation there. So the ship is ready, they are in an island,” Almendras said.
Violence erupted in Lahad Datu Friday morning, killing 12 Filipinos and two Malaysian security forces. The Palace said it was saddened by Friday’s event and had asked the Sulu sultanate to persuade its followers in Sabah to surrender.
In a statement Saturday, President Benigno S. Aquino III asked Filipinos still in Sabah to lay down their weapons unconditionally to avoid further bloodshed. (PND)