PH asks Malaysia to allow women, non-fighters to leave

Report by Ces Drilon, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 05 2013 12:54 PM | Updated as of Mar 06 2013 01:27 AM

MANILA - The Philippines is asking the Malaysian authorities to open a corridor that will allow Filipino women and non-combatants in Sabah, Malaysia to leave.

A report by ABS-CBN correspondent Ces Drilon said Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario has asked his Malaysian counterpart that "a corridor be made available for non-combatants and women in the area so that they will be allowed to leave the violence going on there."

Del Rosario said he has asked the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila to deliver a note verbale to the Malaysian ambassador to the Philippines reiterating the same appeal.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Dato Sri' Anifah Aman said he will relay the request to Defense Minister Dato' Seri Dr. Ahmad Zamid Hamidi.

Del Rosario earlier said Malaysian defense and foreign ministers rejected the Philippine government's appeal for maximum tolerance in dealing with followers of sultanate crown prince Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram.

He said the discussions with the 2 ministers early Tuesday were comprehensive but declined to give details until he reports personally to President Aquino.

Malaysian fighter jets launched air strikes on Kiram's group Tuesday as security forces sought to end a three-week incursion that has already killed 27 people.

Prime Minister Najib Razak said the government had no choice but to quell Malaysia's worst security crisis in years, sparked when militants invaded to claim the Malaysian state of Sabah for a self-styled Philippine sultan.

"The longer this invasion lasts, it is clear to the authorities that the invaders do not intend to leave Sabah," Najib said, adding that negotiations had gone nowhere.

"The government must take action to safeguard the dignity and sovereignty of the country as required by the people." With a report from Agence France-Presse