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Second PH-Indo-Mal Trilateral Defense Ministerial Meeting in Two Months

Trilateral defense cooperation is the way forward if common security challenges facing the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia are to be addressed effectively. This was the shared sense among the three countries’ defense ministers in their latest trilateral meeting held in the Philippines last June 20 where they agreed in principle for their armed forces and/or relevant to agencies to explore several measures to counter the increasing maritime security challenges in areas of common concern. These include greater and enhanced intelligence sharing, maritime and air patrols, database sharing, hotlines and other coordinated activities.

Meeting for the second time in less than two months after they first had their trilateral meeting at the sidelines of the ADMM in Laos last month, Philippine Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin, Indonesian defense minister Ryamizard Ryacudu and Malaysian defense minister Dato Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein committed to deepen practical defense cooperation among their respective defense forces.

They also received updates from their intelligence chiefs who met the day before the trilateral meeting as well as from the group working on the Framework on Trilateral Cooperation which is currently being crafted following the Joint Declaration issued by the three countries’ foreign ministers who met in Indonesia last May 5.

At the end of the meeting, the three ministers issued a Joint Statement expressing such commitment and outlining the practical measures they have agreed to explore. The three ministers also welcomed Major General Delfin Lorenzana who is slated to lead the Philippine Department of National Defense by July 1. Secretary Gazmin emphasized that the presence of General Lorezana in the meeting will pave the way for a sustained interaction among the three defense ministries.