The first leg of this year’s Philippine-Indonesian Coordinated Patrol culminated yesterday as the patrolling ships of both countries are expected to reach their final point in the territorial waters of Indonesia in the Celebes Sea.
The Border Coordinated Patrol, which is aimed at securing the common border between the two countries and curtailing maritime crimes including smuggling and piracy, was formally opened on May 2 at the Pinnacle Hotel, Davao City.
The Philippines and the Republic of Indonesia have increased this year’s coordinated border patrol activities to curb the smuggling and human trafficking at the high seas in both countries.
The increase of patrols is also aimed at increasing the inter-operability and capability of ensuring a safe and secure common maritime border of both countries.
The send-off ceremony last May 4, 2019, signalled the start of the first leg of the activities wherein the Philippine Coast Guard joined and sent its contingent during the initial phase of the first leg.
The first leg has concluded on May 10, 2019, after reaching their final point in Indonesian waters.
Col. Ezra Balagtey, the spokesperson of Eastern Mindanao Command, said the second and third leg of the activities, which will be staged in the middle of this year, will focus more on maritime and security patrol activities, while the fourth leg will be a combination of exercises and border patrol activities.
The coordinated patrol between the two countries started in 1975 when the Philippines and Indonesia signed the Border Patrol and Border Crossing Agreements.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Felimon Santos Jr., commander of Eastern Mindanao Command, expressed optimism on the crime and terrorism deterrent impact on the conduct of the coordinated patrol.
“This coordinated naval operations, which we are conducting annually, strengthen the bilateral cooperation of the two countries in securing the border and as we increase the frequency of our coordinated plus our unilateral and independent patrol, we will be able to deter, and curb sea crimes; and prevent terrorists from using the border as transit point, ” Santos said.