Outgoing Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin yesterday said that Indonesian security forces cannot just enter Philippine territory and conduct rescue operations for its seven sailors held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf Group in Sulu.
Since the incident took place in Philippine territory, Gazmin said it the responsibility of Philippine security forces to rescue the victims.
“They (Indonesians) can only conduct operations to pursue within our area if the incident occurred within their waters, based on the principle of hot pursuit,” Gazmin said.
This is consistent with the Philippine and Indonesia 1975 Border Crossing Agreement in which Indonesian security forces are allowed to enter Philippine maritime zones under the concept of hot pursuit in the same way that Filipino forces are allowed to enter Indonesian maritime zones, he said.
When pursuit operations reaches land, Indonesian forces are only allowed to conduct limited operations, such as sharing information with Philippine authorities, not operations using arms, he said. (PNA and Elena L. Aben)