7th PH-Indonesia Defense Committee Convenes

The border delimitation agreement which the Philippines and Indonesia signed in 2014, now acknowledged as a good template for peacefully resolving overlapping boundaries must likewise be made to work for the benefit of fishermen. This was stressed by Undersecretary for Defense Policy Pio Lorenzo Batino in the recently concluded PH-Indonesia Joint Defense and Security Cooperation Committee (JDSCC) meeting in Manila.

Regularly conducted alternately in the Philippines and Indonesia, the JDSCC is the defense-level platform for Philippine and Indonesian defense officials to take stock of the state of Philippine and Indonesian defense relations as well as chart the future direction of cooperation.While both sides noted the robust defense relations between the two countries, both shared the view that much more can be done to further deepen the relationship. The Philippine side likewise proposed to further rationalize the platforms of engagement currently in place by ensuring that service level committees convene prior to the holding of the general headquarters group and the defense level committee convening last in a particular planning year.

The JDSCC likewise served as a platform for the two co-chairs including their respective delegations to exchange views on issues of common concern to include maritime security, counter-terrorism and humanitarian assistance and disaster response. The PH side once more highlighted the objective of bringing the South China Sea/
West Philippine Sea to arbitration: to clarify PH maritime entitlements, noting the recent decision of the court that it has jurisdiction over the matter and confident that a decision in favor the PH would result from the proceedings. Indonesia expressed support for the track of pursuing the matter in accordance with international law. Both sides likewise shared the sense of pursuing a collaborative approach in stemming the spread of extremism in Southeast Asia particularly given the porous borders among neighbors to include the Philippines and Indonesia. Finally, both sides agreed that more intense preparations need to be undertaken given the increasing magnitude and severity of disasters and calamities brought about by climate change. 
The next JDSCC meeting will be held in Indonesia sometime in 2016.