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Malaysia wise not to attack sultanate’s men

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The ultimatum given by the Malaysian authorities to the men of the Sultanate of Sulu who are holed up in a village in Sabah expired at midnight of Tuesday, Feb. 26.

But Malaysian police and military forces surrounding the village didn’t attack as expected when the ultimatum ended.

The Malaysians are wise to make such a drastic move against people who belong to the Tausugs of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, a tribe of Filipino Muslims that considers fighting a way of life.

The Tausugs (or Tausog, meaning people of the sea current) revere the Sulu sultanate which ruled them for centuries until the coming of the Americans at the beginning of the 20th century.

They believe in the cause of their sultanate even if its power of life and death over its subjects has become dormant for more than a century now.

If the men and women led by Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, who were sent by Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, are harmed, the people in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi and the Tausugs in Sabah would take up arms against the Malaysian government.

In the event a Tausug revolt against Malaysia takes place, most Tausugs in Sabah will harbor or fight with the warriors from Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. Sabah is only one hour by speedboat from Tawi-Tawi.

From my source close to the sultanate, 2,500 armed Tausugs are in Sabah. Most of them belong to the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) whose founder, Nur Misuari, traces his lineage to the sultanate.

The armed men from Sulu and Tawi-Tawi landed in the Malaysian state even before Sultan Kiram and his group arrived in Sabah.

At the height of the furor over the landing last week, about 150 MNLF armed regulars from Palawan landed in Sabah, according to very reliable sources. Although the Malaysian and Philippine navies guard the boundary between the two countries, it is easy to cross the border.

This porous border contributed to the increase of the Tausug population in Sabah, with many who escaped the war between the government and the MNLF in the 1970s and ’80s settling down in the Malaysian state.

Malaysia is walking on a tightrope in the Sabah standoff.

*                                *                             *

His advisers should advise President Noy to refrain from making statements on the Sabah standoff that would hurt the sensibilities of the Tausugs. In trying to please Malaysia, the President might have another Tausug revolt in his hands.

The President said he would order the arrest of Sultan Jamalulu Kiram III if he didn’t withdraw his armed men from Sabah.

Such statements are counterproductive.

If the President doesn’t know it yet, the Tausug revolt in the 1970-1980s nearly resulted in the collapse of the Marcos government.

*                                  *                         *

PO2 Christine Mangibang of the San Pedro police station should be relieved from her post at the children and women’s desk.

Jessa Regaspi, 33, told this writer that Mangibang didn’t act on her complaint of domestic violence. According to Regaspi, Mangibang seemed to be flirting with somebody on her cell phone and did not bother to take down her complaint of domestic violence.

*                                     *                           *

The mother of a girl with cerebral palsy, who was reportedly raped by her own father, complained that a prominent politician is protecting her estranged husband.

The mother says that the suspect, a businessman from Marinduque, is out on bail, even if rape is a nonbailable offense.


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Tags: column , Metro , Ramon Tulfo , Sabah standoff , Tausugs




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