TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto said Indonesia and the Philippines have reached an agreement to conduct joint patrol on the Sulu waters in the Philippines.
“Joint maritime patrols will be carried out to monitor Sulu waters, which is prone to piracy,” Wiranto said yesterday, September 14, 2016, at Senayan Parliamentary Complex Jakarta.
According to Wiranto, the respective countries’ armed forces will be allowed to handle pirates in the Sulu waters. The agreement will enable Indonesian personnel to pursue and subdue pirates even if they crossed the Philippine borders. Previously, Indonesia had encountered difficulty for its inablility to cross the Philippine waters in hot pursuit of pirates. “It’s a key issue,” he said.
Sulu waters security has been a major talking point following the abduction of Indonesian citizens by Abu Sayyaf rebels. Both countries agreed that they cannot tolerate abduction. Indonesia has urged the Philippine government to ensure security in Sulu waters. State officials of Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia had met to discuss plans for joint naval patrols.
Maritime security issue was also discussed in last week’s meeting between President Joko Widodo and the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Duterte said maritime security was his top priority. Therefore, he agreed on trilateral agreement which had been discussed earlier. Duterte lamented the piracy of bulk carriers and abductions of Indonesian citizens. “It’s a crime against humanity. It is the most pressing issue for us,” he said.
Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said the Indonesian government continues to push for the release of the Indonesian citizens. Efforts are ongoing to release the hostages, such as the military operation launched by the Philippine government on Abu Sayyaf’s strongholds.
“The massive mobilization of 10,000 personnel is aimed at releasing the hostages. Particularly to devour the rebels,” he said.
ARKHELAUS W. | YOHANES PASKALIS | ADITYA BUDIMAN | AGUNG SEDAYU