MANILA, Philippines – Backdoor entry through the Philippines southern border has made the country susceptible to threats from foreign terrorists.
Thus, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has been working with its neighboring countries Indonesia and Malaysia to further strengthen its border security.
In 2017, the three countries entered into an agreement coined as ‘INDOMALPHI’ or Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philippines Trilateral Cooperative Agreement which commits the three nations to securing common borders.
“If ever there are reports from let’s say Indonesia or Malaysia that they going here, they have to share that information (to prevent entry of terrorists),” explained AFP Chief of Staff General Noel Clement.
“The same is true also if we have reports that we have fighters that are coming here and going to their respective countries,” he added.
The AFP admits, however, that the lack of floating assets of its naval arm – the Philippine Navy – gives foreign terrorists the chance to penetrate the country’s territories like the suicide bombers in the Sulu attack.
Worse, these terrorists teach their local counterparts how to create explosives and execute their plans, according to Clement.
“Ang kanilang intention bakit sila nandito is para makapag-conduct ng kanilang mga terroristic activities particular ang pagbobomba (Their intentions for entering our territory include conducting terrorist activities particularly bombings),” the official said.
“Hindi natin dapat payagan ito because kapag naisagawa nila yung kanilang mga hangarin na ito ay maraming mape-perwisyo at madadamay, (We won’t allow that because if they succeed in their plans, many people will suffer),” he added.
The ‘INDOMALPHI” is conducting joint maritime exercises aimed at strengthening capabilities against sea-jacking, piracy, smuggling and other illegal activities at sea.
Meanwhile, the AFP also tapped the support of the fishing industry in ZAMBASULTA area to augment as force multipliers in guarding and protecting the waters within the Philippine territorial jurisdiction. – MNP (with details from Dante Amento)
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