Smoke billows after a helicopter from the Air Force released a rocket, as government troops continue their assault against insurgents from the Maute group, who have taken over parts of Marawi, Sunday.
It was also witnessed by Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs, Dr Maliki Osman, and Brunei’s Deputy Defence Minister Abdul Aziz Haji Mohammad Tamit.
This photograph the Indonesian National Armed Forces on Monday shows (front L to R) Indonesia’s military chief Gatot Nurmantyo, Malaysia’s armed forces chief Raja Mohamed Affandi, and Philippines’ Chief of staff of the armed forces Eduardo Ano, (back L to R) Indonesia’s minister of defense Ryamizard Ryacudu, Malaysia’s minister of defence Hishammuddin Hussein, and Philippines’ Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana, signing agreements for the “trilateral coordinated maritime patrol” in Tarakan, North Kalimantan.
Nurmantyo said the idea of the trilateral maritime patrols was initiated by the countries a year ago to maintain stability in the region in the face of threats such as piracy, kidnapping, terrorism and other crimes in regional waters.
Philippine military spokesman Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said the coordinated patrols aim to tighten protection along porous borders, and prevent abductions on the high seas.
Maritime command centres to coordinate the patrols and information sharing will also be set up in Tawau in Malaysia’s Sabah and Bongao in the Philippines.
“We see these functioning as a triangle, like a spider’s web, where everything inside the triangle will be monitored”, Gen Nurmantyo said of the centres.
Indonesian navy has intensified patrol for security in the sea border with the Philippines after the Islamic rebels occupied Marawi, a city in southern Philippines, last month, fearing that militants might flee the Philippines and will cross the border to Indonesia.
“The navy has been in coordination with the army and police in Sangihe to guarantee the district’s security [.] We’ve informed the people to report any suspicious activities or persons to the authorities in the area”, Setiyo said.
Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines began joint naval patrols in their region Monday as threats from extremist groups increase. It has also offered the assistance of its Information Fusion Centre at Changi Naval Base. “It is in our interests to do so”.