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Trilateral Maritime Patrol Launched

Secretary of National Defense Delfin N. Lorenzana together with Indonesian and Malaysian defense ministers Ryacudu and Hisshammudin launched today (June 19) the trilateral maritime patrol.

The increasing incidence of armed robbery at sea, kidnapping and other transnational crimes along the shared areas of the three countries prompted the three ASEAN members to enter into a trilateral cooperative arrangement. The trilateral cooperation is also expected to beef up the three countries collaboration to counter the movement of violent extremists and terrorists across the three countries' borders. Given the vast areas to be patrolled, it is necessary for the three countries to join forces in ensuring that the waters remain safe and secure, the three ministers noted.

With the launching of the trilateral maritime patrols, civilian vessels in distress, while transiting the so-called areas of common concern, could now count the three navies to come to their assistance. Used during the launching was a scenario of a commercial vessel being highjacked and rescued by the three navies was used to demonstrate the combined capabilities of the three countries.

Maritime patrols are only effective if it is underpinned by efficient information sharing to ensure a common operating picture in the maritime domain. Military Coordination Centers therefore play a vital role towards this end. Alongside the launching of the patrols is the inauguration of the Indonesia's MCC in Tarakan. Similar MCCs are already in place in Bongao, Tawi-tawi, Philippines and Tawau, Malaysia. The three defense ministers witnessed the inauguration of the MCC by their respective chiefs of defense forces to include General Ano of the Philippines.

Singapore's Senior Minister of State for Defense Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman and Brunei's Deputy Defense Minister Dato Seri Pahlawan Abdul Aziz bin Haji Mohd Tamit attended as observers.

Secretary Lorenzana in the press conference stressed that the transnational security challenges faced by the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia necessitated this Trilateral Maritime Patrol. He welcomes the presence of the Brunei and Singapore ministers because what happens in the tri-boundaries of Phil-Indonesia-Malaysia would also impact on Brunei and Singapore. Singapore's Information Fusion Center which monitors piracy in the Straits of Malacca and collates relevant information is one best practice that could be replicated.

The three ministers gave one another their respective commitment to further deepen their trilateral cooperation.