As clashes between Malaysian authorities and the armed followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III continue, Malacanang Tuesday said what the Philippine government can do is to assist their families left behind.
"We have done everything possible, and we continue to do everything possible to peacefully end this (Sabah) standoff. Unfortunately, the position taken by the Kiram family is a position that leads down to violence," said Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda in a press briefing.
"Ang ginagawa namin ngayon, itong mga naiwan sa Basulta (in Sulu) ay tinutulungan po natin 'yung mga pamilya," he said.
"In fact, the wife of Raja Muda (Agbimmudin) Kiram -- Haji Norkiza Kiram -- is in touch with the families. She is instrumental in helping us identify who are the people who went to Lahad Datu. And upon identification of the people who went to Lahad Datu, we are able to trace the families of those men who went to Lahad Datu. So, we are going to provide assistance to them and (the) DSWD (Dept. of Social Welfare and Development) is on top of that," he noted.
DSWD Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Juliano-Soliman earlier said social workers from Bonggao were added to assist the existing Pantawid Pamilya network of social workers in Simunul, Tandabanak, and Sibutu, all in Tawi-Tawi.
"In addition, the DSWD is working with the wife of Raja Muda Agbimmudin Kiram to help identify families whose husbands or sons are in Lahad Datu so that food and other assistance can be provided," she said.