TO assert the Philippines’ claims over Sabah, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. yesterday bared his intention to revive the Office of the North Borneo Affairs (ONBA) following Malaysia’s note verbale rejecting Manila’s territorial claim over Sabah.
“I remember an old bureau within the DFA exclusively devoted to the issue. Wonder if it’s still up. Will resurrect or revitalize it,” Locsin twitted.
In early August, the heirs to the Sultanate of Sulu asked the Philippine government to revive the long dormant ONBA to be able to start rolling again the country’s efforts to reclaim the island of Sabah.
Sabah has become part of the Malaysian federation of states since its formation in 1963.
Recently, Locsin criticized Malaysian Ambassador Norman Muhamad for branding as “expatriates” returning Filipinos from Sabah (North Borneo) amid the pandemic.
“When this COVID-19 was starting and Zamboanga was getting quite a lot of infections from Filipinos leaving Sabah to return to Zamboanga, I told the ambassador, ‘Don’t you dare call them repatriates,’” Locsin said.
“‘You just say you’re moving Filipinos from one place to the other. Don’t you dare call them that’ and he has not.”
Locsin also hit the US Embassy in the Philippines for calling Sabah as part of Malaysia.
“Sabah is not in Malaysia if you want to have anything to do with the Philippines,” Locsin tweeted.