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Press Release - Robin Pushes PH Rights to Sabah with Amendment to Maritime Zones Act

Sen. Robinhood "Robin" C. Padilla on Wednesday upheld the Philippines' rights over Sabah by introducing an amendment to the proposed Philippine Maritime Zones Act.

Padilla's proposal - to add a line that makes clear the Philippines is not abandoning its claim to Sabah - was accepted by Sen. Francis Tolentino, the author and sponsor of the bill.

"Ang hinihingi natin, magkaroon ng pantay na atensyon. Sapagka't sovereignty itong claim natin sa Sabah, sovereignty. Hindi ko sinasabing awayin natin ang Malaysia. Ang sinasabi ko lang, dapat sa ating local laws, sa ating pansariling batas, dapat matibay ang ating panindigan na sa atin ang Sabah (What we are asking for is equal attention, because we claim sovereignty over Sabah. I am not saying that we go to war with Malaysia. But I am saying our local laws should at least make clear our rights to Sabah)," said Padilla.

"Hindi ito maging kalabisan dahil tayo ay rasonable na tao rin naintindihan natin ano ang diplomasya, naintindihan natin relasyon ng dalawang bansa. Pero hindi yan dapat maging hadlang para magkaroon ng pansariling batas sa ating bayan (This is not too much because we are reasonable people. We understand diplomacy and the relations between the Philippines and Malaysia. But that should not be a stumbling block to stress sovereignty in our local laws)," he added.

Tolentino accepted Padilla's proposal to add a provision that reads: "All other laws, presidential decrees, executive orders, rules and regulations, proclamations, and other issuances, inconsistent with or contrary to provisions of this Act are deemed amended or repealed accordingly; provided that nothing in this Act shall be construed as repealing Section 2 of RA 5446 as amended, and Sec 2 of RA 9522."

RA 5446, signed by then President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. in 1968, stresses that Sabah is part of the Philippines' territory.

Padilla said Philippine laws cannot be silent about the status of Sabah as part of Philippine territory, because it has a historical background regarding its claim to Sabah dating back to 1962.

For his part, Tolentino assured Padilla the Philippines never abandoned its claim to Sabah even after it signed the United Nations