The Philippines is considering holding coordinated military and police operations with Malaysia to combat the alarming surge of kidnappings and piracy by Islamic militants.
Concerned about the “deteriorating peace and order” and its impact on regional trade, President Duterte has bared plans to push for enhanced border security cooperation when he meets Malaysian President Najib Razak next week.
“There’s a need for us, the three countries – Malaysia, Philippines, and Indonesia to talk about this seriously and to put a stop because it has somehow paralyzed the trade and commerce in that area,” Duterte said in a media interview in Davao City last Tuesday night.
“We will talk about it…border crossing and maybe joint military and police operations,” Duterte added.
The President admitted that the recent kidnappings of sailors committed by the Abu Sayyaf group have embarrassed his government. “What is really embarrassing to me was ang sanctuary ng mga rebelde, nandiyan sa Jolo, sa ating jurisdiction so that makes it doubly worrisome. Pangit kasi ‘yung aming mga kababayan diyan dinadala,” he said.
Duterte said he already talked to Indonesian President Joko Widodo who has agreed to the maritime security cooperation to secure their common borders.
Fresh from his trip to Japan, President Duterte is scheduled to visit Kuala Lumpur on November 9 and 10. He is also expected to make a side trip to Thailand to pay respects to the late king of Thailand.
Before traveling to Kuala Lumpur, the President held initial talks about the proposed defense cooperation with Malaysian Deputy Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in Davao City last Saturday. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)