PH to Malaysia: 'Maximum tolerance'

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines has asked Malaysia to observe "maximum tolerance" in dealing with the remaining Filipino gunmen engaged in the deadly standoff in Sabah, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Monday, March 4.

"The Philippine government requests Malaysian authorities to exercise maximum tolerance in dealing with the remaining members of the Kiram group," DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez told reporters.

Hernandez added that Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario will travel to Kuala Lumpur to persuade his counterpart, Malaysian foreign minister Anifah Aman, to allow a "humanitarian" mission to assist Filipinos affected by the standoff and bring them back home.

"The DFA appeals that these requests be granted as soon as possible," Hernandez said.

At least 26 people have died since Malaysian security forces on Friday started cracking down on the bizarre invasion by followers of self-proclaimed Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III to reclaim the territory as their own.

Kuala Lumpur vowed to beef up security Monday after the country's worst security crisis in years. - with reports from Carlos Santamaria/