Palace condoles with families of Filipinos who died in Sabah

March 1, 2013 11:14 pm 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, March 1 — Malacanang condoles with the families of Filipinos who were killed in the clash between the followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III and Malaysian authorities Friday morning in Lahad Datu, Sabah.

"We are saddened upon hearing reports, confirmed by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, that 10 to 12 Filipinos and two Malaysians died as the Kiram family and their followers clashed with Malaysian authorities in Lahad Datu, Sabah. We condole with the families of those who were lost," said Presidential Communication Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) Secretary Ricky Carandang in a statement on Friday evening.

Since the start of the standoff in Lahad Datu, Carandang said the primary goal of the Aquino administration had been to resolve the situation without violence.

"That is why President (Benigno) Aquino (III) urged the followers of the Kiram family to lay down their arms and return home so that their grievances can be addressed through sober, productive dialogue," he said.

The Malaysia state news agency, Bernama, reported that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had confirmed the death of 10 to 12 Fillipinos and two members of the Malaysia security forces.

Three more Malaysian officers were injured, according to the report.

Bernama further quoted the Malaysian Prime Minister as saying that it was Kiram III’s followers who fired shots first at Malaysian authorities after the Filipinos advanced 1.5 kilometers from where they had camped earlier.

"There now exists a small window of opportunity to arrive at a peaceful conclusion to the situation in Lahad Datu," said Carandang.

The Palace official said they hope that Kiram and his followers will seize the opportunity so that no further bloodshed will occur.

"We are exerting every effort to seize that opportunity, and are hopeful that the Kiram family and their followers will seize it with us, so that further bloodshed may be avoided," he noted. (PNA)

FPV/LGI

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