Duterte eyes joint military, police operations with Malaysia to counter piracy, terrorism

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 2 Nov) – President Rodrigo R. Duterte said that he will discuss with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to possibly hold joint military and police operations to counter piracy and terrorism in his state visit next week. 

In an interview on Tuesday evening, Duterte said that the two nations must take up concerns on “border crossing” in order to address the threats posed by pirates and terrorists to secure the Strait of Malacca and the seas nearby Sulu, the known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf.

“We have a lot to talk about piracy in Malacca Strait, kidnapping, criminality. It’s very important that Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines talk about these. Once and for all, come up with solution,” he said.

These threats, he said, paralyze trade and commerce.

Asked if there could possibly be any presence of foreign terrorist groups in the Sulu seas, he said that: “I think so. That’s the next problem.”

“I said it is coming around and I would like to warn the country that we have this looming problem ahead but I do not want to cause unnecessary alarm. But it is gonna be one of the biggest challenges that this generation will face,” the President said.

The “deteriorating peace and order in Sulu” where terrorists have made it their sanctuary is embarrassing, according to Duterte.

Duterte, in his recent visit to Indonesia, said that he and President Joko Widodo have agreed to strengthen joint security measures.

“I had a talk with Widodo during my visit in Indonesia. Okay sya sa lahat,” he said.

After his Malaysia visit, he said he will proceed to Thailand to pay his respect to the revered 88-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died recently.

“It’s very important that we show our solidarity,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)