By Ben Cal
MANILA (7-Mar-2013) – Former President Fidel V. Ramos on Wednesday said war is not an option in resolving the raging Sabah conflict and suggested a one-on-one talk between President Benigno S. Aquino III and Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III to discuss crisis.
Ramos echoed his unsolicited advice during a press conference at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) before leaving for Taiwan to head a 60-man business and sports delegation.
He pointed out that to resolve the Sabah conflict is to utilize the East Asia Growth Area (EAGA) composed of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines (BIMP) which he said “is the win-win strategy if you are looking for a better more prosperous, peaceful, harmonious, more sustainable future for all the peoples in this tiny planet of ours.”
“You don’t need a thousand thermonuclear bomb, you only need one to start it, pretty soon within 10 minutes, the counter strike will come from all sources you don’t even know,” Ramos said.
“I’ve written about that on many occasions in relation to insurgency and separatism in Mindanao as well as our relations with People’s Republic of China in regard to the so called Nine Dash Line encompassing the South China Sea that war is not an option in this age of high powered weapons, great mobility and thermonuclear war,” he said.
“Sana mag one-on-one yung two principals (President) Aquino III and (Sultan) Jamalul III, ganda niyan. One-on-one sila lang muna across the board, across the table, pancit, lumpia, pero agad agad,” Ramos said in English and Pilipino.
Fighting erupted last week between Malaysian government forces and more than 200 Filipino-Muslim gunmen hold out in Lahad Datu to press their claim on Sabah where 27 people have been killed so far.
Ramos expressed the belief that despite the fighting, “you can still repair it” but there is a need for a ceasefire for “the restoration of the goodwill, friendship and harmony of the peoples of BIMP-EAGA especially between Sabah and the Sultanate…but beyond that our greater interests for Asian amity, unity, mutual prosperity with peace on a sustainable basis.” (PNA)