Malacañang asserted that the island of Sabah, which was occupied by Malaysia, belonged to the Philippines.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said that based on Philippine history, Sabah was given by the king of Borneo, now Brunei, to the Sultanate of Sulu.
But since it has long been under Malaysian rule, the government recognizes that there is a claim to Sabah’s territory.
“We insist that Sabah was given by the King of Borneo to the Sultan of Sulu. It is in the Constitution that the territory of our people. We have always acknowledged that we have a conflicting claim of territory over Sabah, ”said Roque.
The issue heated up again due to a tweet by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. that the Philippines owned Sabah which led to Malaysia summoning the Philippine Ambassador to explain the matter.
Roque, on the other hand, said that although there is an issue with territorial claims in Sabah, they will not allow the Philippine bilateral relations with Malaysia to be affected but the good relations between the two countries will continue.
“We should not affect our ongoing bilateral ties with Malaysia, it has not affected it in recent years and we will continue to have healthy bilateral relations with Malaysia despite the issue with Sabah,” Roque added.