MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to take possible coordinated actions, including sea and air patrols, to stop an alarming wave of cross-border kidnappings and boat attacks by Abu Sayyaf extremists.
Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin says no agreement was signed during talks with his Malaysian and Indonesian counterparts in Manila on Monday because he wanted the administration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, who would be inaugurated on June 30, to formalize any such security accord.
Gazmin says the proposed actions include the setting up of security hotlines and a database on extremists and information-sharing. He added that anti-piracy actions in the Malacca Straits are a model.
Daring cross-border kidnappings and tugboat attacks by Abu Sayyaf extremists in the three countries' busy sea border have sparked a regional security alarm.