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Task force vs terrorism mulled

Leaders from the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia are planning to form a task force to combat terrorism and other transnational crimes in the region.

President Duterte has announced that he would meet with Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in a place near the Philippines like Sabah or Jakarta to formalize the anti-terror agreement.

“We have agreed that we will talk – the three of us, si Najib, sa Malaysia so naghintay lang kami ng timing [with Najib of Malaysia, we are just waiting for the timing],” Duterte said during a media interview in Davao City early Sunday morning.

“It can be near the Philippine shore. Sabah might be a good avenue or Jakarta but it could be a long haul actually,” he said.

Asked about the agenda of the meeting, Duterte said: “In all probability, it will be a joint – parang task force.”
He noted that the three nations have agreed to open their borders in case of hot pursuit of terror suspects in their common seas.

“I will open my borders to the Malaysian authorities and Indonesian authorities, and I am – they’ll be given access,” he said.

“They are doing it already but to formalize an agreement, we have to meet face to face and agree on an agenda for the talks,” he added.

Duterte said he can’t be out of the country for long due to the security problems in Marawi City. He noted that he plans to visit the war-torn city again until the conflict is over. (Genalyn Kabiling)