The Jakarta Post
Foreign ministers and defense force chiefs from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines signed a joint declaration on maritime security on Thursday, calling on all governments in the region to increase efforts to tackle marine threats.
The leaders called for intensified maritime security following the recent kidnapping of seamen by the Southern Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf militant group, and other armed sea robberies, that have endangered national security in the region.
In the joint declaration obtained by The Jakarta Post, the officials agreed to conduct patrols and to render immediate assistance for the safety of all vessels and crew in the three countries' respective maritime areas.
The governments will also establish a joint focal point to facilitate the timely sharing of information and intelligence, according to the statement released by the Foreign Ministry.
"A communication hotline will be established [...] to better facilitate coordination during emergency situations and security threats," the statement read.
The joint declaration follows a meeting in Yogyakarta on Thursday between Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi, Malaysian Foreign Minister Dato' Sri Anifah Aman and Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Jose Rene D. Almendras.
Also present at the meeting were Indonesian Military commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo, Malaysian Defense Force chief Gen. Tan Sri Dato' Sri Zulkifeli and flag officer in command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Vice. Adm. Caesar C. Taccad, who represented the AFP acting chief of staff.
The officials will in turn instruct relevant agencies of the three countries to meet immediately and to convene on a regular basis to implement and periodically review the new measures, as well as to formulate a new standard operating procedure.
The countries all expressed renewed commitment to the promotion of peace, stability and security in the region, as well as to addressing growing security challenges, especially transnational crime and terrorism. The agreement also confirms a mutual respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each country, the statement said. (afr/ebf)