COTABATO CITY—Moro peace advocates urged the Bangsamoro government to be vigilant of probable transnational formation of allied military powers along the open lanes of the South Sulu Sea, which is feared to drag the country into a bigger international conflict than the regional South China Sea disputes.
The Ranao Youth Council (RYC) said it did not want the fledgling Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to “end up as host” to the convergence of transnational military powers, with the Tawi-Tawi coves being a vast anchorage area for naval ships, amid the armed conflict in Eastern Europe.
Carl Lacoto Ma-amor, RYC overall chairperson, said more Moro people have expressed fears the Tawi-Tawi coves will be used for naval anchorage, with Australia being the nearest military power.
“A convergence of foreign forces along the adjoining Celebes Sea and the Sulu Sea could drag the Philippines into the bigger conflict in Europe, given Russia’s alliance with socialist China and North Korea,” Ma-amor said.
Australia and the Philippines are members of the renewed powerful military and economic alliance of nations in the Indo-Pacific Region, along with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor Leste, United States, and Vietnam.
Ma-amor said smaller boats at 8-10 knots sailing to and from Bongao and Sibutu Island are often at risk of collision with big ships navigating fast offshore at 18-22 nautical miles per hour (knots) across the Sibutu Strait to and from Australia.
Under the annexes of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the Bangsamoro Waters (BMW) runs five more nautical miles off the 15-kilometer municipal waters or 22.22 kilometers from the coastal contour during the low-tide period.