A PALACE official said on Wednesday a trilateral agreement is being considered by the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia to open up sea lanes, with the aim to secure the three nations against terrorists, as well as improve trade relations between these countries.
This was revealed by Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar, during the weekly “Kapihan sa Manila Bay, at Café Adriatico” in Manila.
Andanar’s revelation came after the Philippine government’s recent meeting with Malaysia.
“From my perspective, Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak was very welcoming and warm to all of us Filipino delegates led by Secretary [Jesus] Dureza. He mentioned several times the security problem here in Sulu,” Andanar said.
“We have very close proximity between Malaysia and Sulu. Unless we solve this problem, the security will always pose dangers to our economic growth and bilateral relations. The security will always pose as one of the dangers,” said Andanar.
“The Prime Minister reiterated the need to establish to official sea lanes between the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. We will know how superior the navy of Malaysia and Indonesia. Through a trilateral agreement we will have Official Sea Lanes between the three countries,” Andanar said.
Andanar said with this agreement, the three countries will be able to help in fighting against the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group.
He said anything that enters this official sea lanes, without the three nations approval, will considered as “hostile.”
Andanar also said that during the meeting in Malaysia, Najib was happy to hear the announcement of President Rodrigo Duterte that it is time to stop the Abu Sayyaf.
On the other hand, the Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-East Asean Growth Area was also discussed during the meeting aimed at improving the trade relations with the member-countries, said Andanar.