Pilipinas, Malaysia at Indonesia Nag sanib Pwersa na Para Pulbusin Ang Mga Terorista sa Pilipinas - Daily Buzz PH

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pilipinas, Malaysia at Indonesia Nag sanib Pwersa na Para Pulbusin Ang Mga Terorista sa Pilipinas

Three Southeast Asian nations have started trilateral naval patrols in the first concrete sign of cooperation against ISIS-inspired terror groups operating in the region.

The Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia will begin joint patrols and information-sharing to curb the influence of local Islamist terror groups, according to a joint statement released by the three governments.
Southeast Asian terror cells aligned with the Iraq- and Syria-based group have been emboldened in recent years, culminating in a month-long battle for the city of Marawi on Mindanao island in the southern Philippines.

The Trilateral Maritime Patrol Indomalphi -- whose name incorporates elements of each of the three countries' names -- was "initiated and implemented" by the governments of the "three in order to face the security challenges associated with each country's border waters," according to the statement.
The start of the initiative was marked with a ceremony aboard an Indonesian naval vessel in the Javanese province of North Kalimantan Monday, attended by the defense ministers of the three countries, alongside each nation's armed forces commander.
"The Trilateral Maritime Patrol Indomalphi is a concrete step taken by the three countries ... in maintaining stability in the region in the face of non-traditional real threats such as piracy, kidnapping, terrorism and other transnational crimes in regional waters," the statement said.

A bomb explodes after being dropped on an Islamist militants' hideout in Marawi, on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao on June 9, 2017.
To implement the increased intelligence sharing and joint patrols, there will be a Maritime Command Center (MCC) in each nation -- Tarakan in Indonesia, Tawau in Malaysia and Bongao in the Philippines. The maritime patrols will also include air and land elements.

Chief among the issues that the Southeast Asian nations face is the rising threat of local terror groups from the three countries, who use the channels and inlets of the nations' coastlines on the Sulu Sea to move weapons, cash and personnel between the Indonesian island of Java, Malaysia's Sabah province and the Philippines' Mindanao, a large southern island with a large Muslim population and a long history of religiously-motivated separatism

Kidnappings, especially by Mindanao-based militants of Indonesian nationals, has also been a key issue in moving the initiative forward.

In addition to dozens of Indonesians, mainly fishermen and seamen, kidnapped in the past few years, the Sulu-based faction of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) recently kidnapped two Canadians, a Norwegian and a Philippines national from a marina in the southern Philippines.

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