My ‘supposed’ letter to the Philippine President regarding the North Borneo issue
Kagabi, naglakas-loob ako na sumulat ng isang letter para sa President ng Republika ng Pilipinas Benigno Aquino III. Dapat sanang ipadala ko yung through the Contact Us page ng website of Office of the President (www.president.gov.ph), pero hindi natuloy dahil strict yung commands na nilagay nila doon at hindi nag-allow ng special characters, katulad ng slash at dash, sa pagpapadala ng mensahe.
Ang ginawa ko, ipinadala ko sa yung mensahe sa Communications group ng website of the Office of the Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines (www.ovp.gov.ph) yung mensahe na ‘yon, dahil hindi strict yung commands ng Contact Us page nila. Ipinadala ko rin yung letter sa email address na ibinigay ng Office of the President para sa mga entries ng isang pa-contest na sinimulan ng President.
Sa totoo lang, paulit-ulit lang yung laman nung letter na isinulat ko. Pero, naniniwala ako na naglalaman ‘yon ng ilang mensahe at impormasyon na nagsusuporta sa dapat pag-claim ng ating bansa sa teritoryo ng North Borneo.
Anyway, ito na yung letter na isinulat ko.
To whoever reads this message (Communications Group of the President),
I would like to address this message to the President of the Republic of the Philippines, His Excellency Benigno Aquino III.
I am Jecon *********, a 16-year-old, 4th year high school student from General Santos City.
I have a great interest in History, mainly the History of the Philippines and the History of the German Empire (Pre-World War I Germany).
Anyway, I had read this article from http://www.interaksyon.com titled, “Sultan of Sulu revives claim over Sabah, ‘patrimony of the Filipino people.’” (Link to the article: http://interaksyon.com/article/15187/sultan-of-sulu-revives-claim-over-sabah-patrimony-of-the-filipino-people) If you had checked-out the article, the 34th Sultan of Sulu, His Royal Highness Sultan Esmail Dalus Kiram II, and his advisers had declared that they are ready to relive the campaign on claiming Sabah (Northern Borneo) as a part of Philippine territory, since it is known that it is a part of Malaysia now.
I, as a Filipino citizen, a person with a strong interest in Philippine history, and a supporter to this claim, would like to say to the President that I really hope that the the Government of the Philippines and the Administration of President Aquino would support this. If you had checked-out the article that I had included in this message, it already had said the things that I want to say. But, I would still like to add my own message, even though, I know, that it will look like that I had just rephrased what was written in the article.
As far as I can remember from my lesson on Philippine history when I was in 1st year high school, that on 1878, His Majesty Sultan Jamalul A’Lam signed a treaty wherein he leased the North Borneo territory of the Sultanate of Sulu to Gustavus von Overbeck, the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador to Hong Kong and the Ambassador’s British business partner Alfred Dent. Overbeck and Dent were the representatives of the British North Borneo Company. Again, I would like to mention that the Sultan of Sulu had leased the territory; and, it has been mentioned in the treaty that they may use the territory for as long as they desire. But, in addition to that, it was mentioned in the treaty that the British North Borneo Company should pay the Sultanate of Sulu a certain amount of money and that the Sultan of Sulu IS NOT GIVING AWAY HIS SOVEREIGN RIGHTS. On 1903, His Majesty Sultan Jamalul Kiram of Sulu signed a document known as the “Confirmation of Cession of Islands”, wherein they lease some additional islands of the Sultanate of Sulu.
The key words and phrase on the documents that was signed by the Sultans were “leased” and “not giving away the sovereign rights of the Sultan.”
Historically, when the Philippines was under the Commonwealth administration of the United States, the United States reminded the British Empire (Great Britain) that North Borneo did not belong to the Crown and that the business that the British Crown and the Sultanate of Sulu were “private.” However, Sabah was made a British Crown colony. But, even before North Borneo was “annexed” to Malaysia, the Philippine Commonwealth Government kept sending delegations to Great Britain reminding the British Crown belonged to the Philippines, specifically the Sultanate of Sulu.
Until now, the Malaysian government still does pay the rent to the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu, since it was an act that the British government inacted before they gave independence to Malaysia.
Again, historically, even though there is this treaty called the Madrid Protocol of 1885 wherein the Sultan of Sulu was forced to give/surrender his territories(specifically Sulu, Palawan, and the dependecies of Jolo) to Spain, EXCLUDING North Borneo. Meaning, North Borneo is STILL a sovereign territory of the Sultanate of Sulu that time. I would like to mention again that even though that the Sultan of Sulu ceded sovereignty of Sulu, Palawan, and Jolo dependencies to Spain, Spain never claimed sovereignty over Borneo. In note of this, North Borneo was never considered as a dependency of Jolo. Meaning, North Borneo is still under the sovereignty of the Sultan of Sulu.
On 1962, His Majesty Sultan Muhammad Esmail Kiram I ceded full sovereignty of North Borneo to the Republic of the Philippines under the administration of President Diosdado Macapagal. Meaning, the Philippine government has the full authority to pursue the claims of the territory in international courts. Only Presidents Macapagal and Marcos were the only ones who recognized the Sultanate of Sulu, the Sultan of Sulu, and their territories. After that, it seemed like the government and administrations didn’t care about the territory anymore.
If you had checked-out the article that I included in this message, it was stated there that according to the Chairman of the Royal Advisory Council of the Sultanate(Ruma Bechara) Fiscal Leasin Omar Basa said, “Under parens patriae the government is the father of the people. The Philippine government was given the trust of the sultanate, which hoped it would fight for its rights, for a territory that is rich in natural resources from which all Filipinos can benefit.” But, Basa added, “the Philippine government failed to prosecute the claim, so we’re studying other legal remedies.” He said some international law experts had told them there is nothing that stops the Sultanate of Sulu from now filing the claim on its own if it ultimately deems the government as too uncertain in its intentions.
I had also read in the article that the Philippine government must settle something with the Sultan of Sulu first before pursuing the claim on the territory.
It was stated in the article, “according to the Sultanate’s secretary general Abraham Idjirani, the matter of the special authority that the Sultanate granted the Philippine government during the Diosdado Macapagal presidency, and which it revoked in 1989, must be settled.
“The Philippine government cannot prosecute without first seeking a special power of attorney from the Sultanate of Sulu,” said Idjirani.
He pointed to the provisions of the 1962 document embodying the terms between the Macapagal government and the sultanate. “That provision said that should the Republic fail to recover North Borneo, then this transfer document shall ipso facto become null and void.” This is what was invoked when the sultanate revoked the authority in 1989, he explained.”
I believe in what Sultan Kiram said that being able to reclaim the territory “is part of the patrimony of the Filipino people” and that this is historical injustice. Great Britain didn’t have the right to annex the territory to Malaysia since it was clearly stated in their agreement that the Sultan of Sulu WAS NOT AND DID NOT GIVE AWAY HIS SOVEREIGNTY over the territory. The treaty was supposed to be just pure business and did not include any territorial cession.
To make this long message short, first of all, I would like to ask the President and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines to recognize the Sultan of Sulu. After that, I would like to ask again for the Government to settle what has to be settled between the Government and the Sultanate of Sulu. Third, reclaim North Borneo as a part of the Philippines and claim sovereignty on it.
Your Excellency Benigno Aquino III, alam ko po na isa itong napakalaking “hiling” mula sa isang teenager na katulad ko. Mahal ko po ang Pilipinas, ang bansa kung saan ako ipinanganak at lumaki. Naipapakita ko lamang po ang pagmamahal ko sa sa bansa ko on being an exceptional student in History at pagtangkilik sa mag gawang Pilipino. Ngayon, napatunyan ko po sa sarili ko na mahal ko ang Pilipinas dahil humihingi ako sa inyo ng ganitong hiling ngayon. Hindi lamang ang Sultanate of Sulu ang makikinabang dito, kundi pati na rin ang buong Pilipinas, dahil naniniwala po ako na mabibigyan mo ng hustisya ang kasaysayan ng Pilipinas. At, naniniwala po ako na isa rin po itong paraan patungo sa tamang daan na inyong sinasabi.
I hope the President will be able to read this message, personally. Thank you very much.
P.S. - Pasensya na po sa haba ng message and wrong grammar. :)