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The Philippines and Indonesia Friday decided to join forces in fighting crime on the high seas after the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf pulled off a series of kidnappings on both countries.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo agreed to joint coast guard operations to chase and destroy pirates fleeing into Philippine territory in the south.

The Abu Sayyaf has kidnapped 25 Indonesian sailors and some Malayans this year. The group took them while they were travelling in the Sulu Sea between Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

The Abu Sayyaf take their victims to the country to behead them or collect ransom.
In his speech after meeting with Widodo in Jakarta, Duterte said that he and the Indonesian leadr agreed to increase cooperation to battle piracy and kidnapping.

“We agreed to encourage the earliest and effective implementation of cooperative frameworks to address security issues in maritime areas of common concern,” he said.
“We expressed commitment to take all necessary measures to ensure security in the Sulu Sea and maritime areas of common concern,” he said.
He apologized for the commerce hampered because of piracy.
“I am very sorry, Mr. President (Widodo), that sometimes the shipments of even the coal that is needed by the power plants of my country are hampered when crossing that area there because there is a lot of piracy,” he said.
Duterte said the agreement on maritime security cooperation would also be signed with Malaysia.
“We hope that there will be no more security issues in the Sulu Sea in the future, and we will conduct joint patrols to ensure security,” Widodo said, hailing the neighbors’ “cooperation in guaranteeing security in the Sulu Sea.”

SOURCE: Inquirer

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