Indonesia, Malaysia & Philippines launch joint patrols to tackle ISIS threat

Philippines

Jumel G. Estrañero |

Staggering six months of waiting coupled with best efforts before this quarter of 2017, a more concrete defense alignment and cooperation is unfolding in Southeast Asia. Three ASEAN member states have shared common cause for one vision and mission – ‘TO COMBAT TERRORISM’. The Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia launched trilateral air patrol operations on 12 October (Thursday) in a bid to fight Islamic State militants in the region.

As per reports, “This complements the trilateral maritime patrol for the common area of maritime interest among these countries,” Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said.

On its end states, ASEAN’s operations need to function in a secured and stable environment wherein the government and people can resume their normal functions and activities unhampered lives

The launch was held at Subang Air Base in Malaysia at 2:30 p.m. While the staging points will be in Tarakan for Indonesia, Bongao for the Philippines, and Tawau for Malaysia. Meanwhile, a host country will use its assets with other nations patrol teams aboard. Brunei and Singapore also sent representatives as observers.

Read more: Philippine strategy to combat homegrown terrorism

This is a good trilateral defense pact to counter terrorism. We can recall that the trilateral maritime patrols were launched in Tarakan, Indonesia last April. It takes time, indeed. Air assets will patrol regularly the areas of common concern, especially in the light of the threat posed by the Daesh [ISIS]. What is good about this is that each country will take turns leading the mission through a designated mission commander using host country air assets. Like a round robin in the Southeast Asian context.

In lieu of that, we need to maximize and harness soft power approaches to keep our region safe. On part of Philippines, the AFP must be strict on this. The patrols shall monitor from a maritime coordinating center.

This will help a lot in giving the signal to the enemies that Philippines and allied defense partners are willing to stop the violence not only limited to Maute group that is threatening lives of Filipinos in Southern Mindanao

Credible defense is not limited in domestic defense setting. In reality, the inter-state agency shall prosper like the state partners mentioned to counter non-state actors (i.e. terrorism) which has been the center of attention in global security. To contextualize this, Southeast Asia is a big area of responsibility (AOR).

Read more: Anti-terrorism strategic cooperation between U.S. and Philippines

Indeed, this military collaboration comes amid the ongoing conflict in Malawi, where IS-linked local terrorists tried to establish a ‘wilayat’ or provincial territory of the IS.

This will help a lot in giving the signal to the enemies that Philippines and allied defense partners are willing to stop the violence not only limited to Maute group that is threatening lives of Filipinos in Southern Mindanao. Likewise, Malaysia and Indonesia have their own security dilemma minus the South China Sea dispute that these three states have in common.

Credible defense is not limited in domestic defense setting. In reality, the inter-state agency shall prosper like the state partners mentioned to counter non-state actors which has been the center of attention in global security

Meanwhile, ASEAN, minus its non-unifying narratives, shall change this status quo to new heights of counter-terrorism strategy. ASEAN shall unrelentingly reduce the vulnerability of individuals and properties to terrorist acts by effective counter-terrorism response that would assure the region’s populace of a secured environment while creating fear and demoralization on the terrorist ranks.

Read more: Philippines: trapped between rising China & unassertive US in the Far…

On its end states, ASEAN’s operations need to function in a secured and stable environment wherein the government and people can resume their normal functions and activities unhampered lives. This partnership with neighbors shall negate the threats and shows that strong military cooperation is important in aligning our security requirements and initiatives.

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