Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) Spokesman Arsenio Andolong.
Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia Security Patrols to Prevent Terror Attacks
MANILA, Philippines – The enforcement of joint maritime security patrols among the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia will not only address the rising criminality being committed on their respective maritime boundaries but will also tighten, if not totally plug, the entry and exit of local and foreign terrorists into the three neighboring states, Philstar reported, citing the statement of the Department of National Defense (DND).
Defense spokesman Arsenio Andolong issued this statement in welcoming the soon-to-be launched maritime security arrangement between three Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states, in a bid to forestall terrorism and cross-border crimes with their respective maritime borders.
“It is a timely measure in response to the ever-evolving threat of terrorism not only in our countries but in the entire region, “ Andolong said.
In his meeting with President Duterte at Malacañang Friday, Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced the planned launching of joint maritime security patrols in line with both countries’ intensified security cooperation.
Widodo also said that for transnational crimes, it has been agreed upon that the 2014 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Counter-Terrorism Cooperation be expanded by creating a joint working group on counter-terrorism and strengthening intelligence information cooperation.
“This bodes well for the future of maritime security and safety in our common areas,” Andolong said.
Entry and exit of foreign and local jihadists
For decades, foreign and local terrorists from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines have been crisscrossing porous maritime borders in the south, going in and out on these three states practically unhampered.
In the Philippines, in particular, foreign and local terrorists have been taking advantage of its so-called southern backdoor to enter and exit the country unchecked despite military efforts to go after these lawless elements.
Entry and exit of foreign and local jihadists to the Philippines were also highlighted by the series of high-profile cross-border crimes, including seajacking and kidnapping for ransom, being committed by these terrorists not only in the Philippines, but also in Indonesia and in Malaysia.
Foreign terrorists enter Mindanao using some areas either in Malaysia or in Indonesia as their staging points.
Local and foreign terrorists based in Mindanao have also often escaped ongoing military operations against them by fleeing to Indonesia or Malaysia. (T/RS5/RS1)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)