PH, Indonesia agrees to conduct coordinated patrol
THE Philippines and Indonesia has agreed to intensify the conduct of coordinated patrol operations to ensure security and maritime control in the borders the two countries. The agreement was reached during the two-day 36th Republic of the Philippines–Republic of Indonesia (RP-RI) Border Committee Chairmen’s Conference that ended Tuesday, January 9, in Davao City. In a joint statement Tuesday, the RP-RI Border Committee said that coordinated patrol operations are aimed to prevent the utilization “of our respective territorial waters as an avenue for the proliferation of terrorism and other transnational crimes.” The Committees agreed to look into measures “to ensure the safe passage of our respective nationals, to include fisher folks, in the border areas.” “This effort will contribute in uplifting the economic well being of our respective countrymen while assuring their protection en route to the fishing grounds at high seas,” the Committees said in a joint statement.
Considering the porous shorelines of our archipelagic domains, both Committees also looked into the possibility of increasing the number of Border Crossing Stations (BCS) that will be strategically situated at common border areas and, to further strengthen the operational functions of the existing BCSs. This effort will provide a systematic scheme in closely monitoring the entry and exit of the nationals of both countries with the hands-on involvement of each country’s immigration, quarantine and customs bureaus. The Committees further decided in the inclusion of other concerned military units and government agencies in the Border Committees as well as establishing a definitive hotline between “our naval commanders in order to immediately address developing situations and other challenges of the current time.” They said that it is also the intent of both Committees to jumpstart the review of the 1975 Border Patrol and Border Crossing Agreements that will seek to recommend amendments of its provisions in order to improve maritime security cooperation between the Philippines and Indonesia. With these, the RP-RI Border Committees expressed satisfaction on the results of the conference and reaffirmed existing mutual understanding on border relations and bilateral cooperation between the two countries.