Philippines, Indonesia joint patrol can help overcome piracy

JAKARTA, Indonesia — The problem of piracy and illegal fishing can be controlled if Indonesia and Philippines carry out joint maritime patrolling.

“Joint maritime patrols by Indonesia and Philippines can combat piracy and illegal fishing,” Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said here on Tuesday.

“However, the idea has yet to materialize,” the minister said.

He said several countries have already established joint maritime patrols, and cited the example of Japan and China which carry out joint patrolling with the United States and Malaysia, respectively.

Such joint patrols will help secure Indonesian waters along the border and ensure proper monitoring.

Earlier, the Indonesian Military (TNI) expressed its readiness to help the Philippines in tackling pirates like those who hijacked an Indonesian vessel and its crew.

“If the Philippines asks for Indonesian assistance, we are ready to help them out,” Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said here.

The minister remarked that a military patrol boat had been prepared in anticipation of such accidents.

However, he noted, the military cannot carry out any operations in the Philippines without the permission of the authorities there.

He said the hijacking of the Indonesian vessel was different from the sea piracy rampant in Somalia.

The minister coordinated with the Defense Minister of the Philippines regarding the piracy issue.

“Indonesia continues to monitor the hostage situation,” the minister remarked.

According to reports in the national media, the Indonesian Embassy in Manila has confirmed that an Indonesian vessel has been hijacked in the Philippines and 10 Indonesian crewmen were being held hostage.

Embassy spokesperson Basriana could not confirm whether the militants of Abu Sayyaf, a group of Islamic extremists, were involved in the incident.

The embassy is still coordinating with the Indonesian Consulate General in Davao and with other relevant authorities in the Philippines to gather more information about the situation. PNA/Antara/