Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia kick off joint patrols in Sulu Sea

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MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday announced that the launching of a trilateral agreement for patrols is ongoing in the trilateral border areas in Indonesia, Sabah area and the Philippines.

Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, spokesperson of the AFP, said the protocols have already been covered and the agreement signed.

“Bahagi ‘yan ng pagpapatibay nitong ating mga lagusan at daanan ng mga nationals from the different countries that are involved in this partnership,” Padilla said during a press briefing at Malacañang.

In a meeting, the three countries from Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia and the Philippines (BIMP)-East ASEAN Growth Area have agreed to take measures against kidnapping by the Abu Sayyaf.

Padilla said the joint naval patrols aim to address the porous borders and ensure organized patrols to prevent abductions at high sea.

Early last year, the Abu Sayyaf, a militant group in Mindanao kidnapped groups of Indonesians and Malaysians in the Sulu Sea.

“More than that is the movement of personnel down from one country down to the another who are fugitives of their own laws and seeking haven in this parts of these different countries as well as providing assistance to the groups of jihadists in these areas,” Padilla said.

Signing of epygraph by CDFs witnessed by DS @HishammuddinH2O, HE @ryamizard_r & Sec @del_lorenzana at the Maritime Command Centre pic.twitter.com/k4i7LbsgQH

t- H2O Comms (@H2OComms) June 19, 2017

DS @HishammuddinH2O, HE @ryamizard_r & Sec @del_lorenzana visiting the INDOMALPHI Maritime Command Centre MCC in Tarakan, Indonesia pic.twitter.com/UFK4rp7M1B

t- H2O Comms (@H2OComms) June 19, 2017

With the launch of the trilateral maritime patrols, the three countries now have a joint mechanism to address security challenges in the Sulu Seas.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana attended the launch in Tarakan, Indonesia together with Malaysian Minister of Defense Hishammuddin Hussein and Indonesian Minister of Defense Ryamizard Ryacudu.