GIVEN the possibility that lawless elements may use the country’s common maritime borders for illegal
activities, the Philippines and its neighbors must strengthen and enhance their regional border
In other words, the Philippines and other member-countries of the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN) ought to work in unison to combat transnational crimes, like piracy and
No less than the new chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Lt. Gen. Rey
Leonardo Guerrero, called for increased coordinated patrols by the military forces of the ASEAN.
“We will also increase the frequency of our coordinated patrols with our ASEAN counterparts in
order to prevent the use of our common maritime borders for illegal activities,” said Guerrero.
Guerrero issued the call as the Philippines, one of the five original members of ASEAN,
prepares to host the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit 2017 and Related Meetings next
Aside from the Philippines, the other original members of the economic bloc which was founded
years ago in Bangkok, Thailand, are Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.
AFP Public Affairs Office chief Marine Col. Edgard Arevalo said increasing the number of
coordinated patrols is aimed at strengthening the global effort to fight international crimes.
Arevalo said the newly-installed AFP chief of staff “hopes to enhance border security with
Malaysia and Indonesia through the multi-pronged Trilateral Cooperation Arrangement inked in June
The historic arrangement is designed to stop kidnapping, trafficking and transit of terror
personalities in the vast Sulu Sea in natural resources-rich but impoverished and troubled Mindanao.
It is certainly heartening to note that since its founding several decades ago, there have
been many areas of effective cooperation among members of the ASEAN alliance.