Philippines to "intensify" maritime cooperation with Indonesia against extremism

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-03 21:28:42|Editor: Yurou
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MANILA, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday that his country seeks to further intensify maritime cooperation with Indonesia, especially for preventing the spread of violent extremism in the region.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, who is in Manila for a visit, paid a courtesy call on Duterte at the presidential guest house in Davao City, Duterte's home city.

Duterte and Marsudi agreed during their meeting to elevate cooperation on trade, maritime security, education, and eradicating terrorism, according to a statement issued by Duterte's office.

While declaring that the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the southern Philippine city of Marawi are in full swing, Duterte told Marsudi that "he wants to intensify maritime security cooperation with Indonesia as foreign and local terrorists continue to enter and exit the country despite the military efforts made to go after these elements."

The statement did not elaborate on the maritime security measures that both countries want to pursue in the future.

In a separate statement, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan peter Cayetano said that the Philippines welcomes Indonesia's offer to help fight violent extremism in the region.

"The Philippines welcomed Indonesia's offer to share its best practices in Islamic education as part of the efforts to address and prevent extremism not just in the country but also in the rest of Southeast Asia," Cayetano said.

"Indonesia is one of the models for the kind of Islamic education that the Philippines and ASEAN can look into to counter the rise of extremism," Cayetano said.

Cayetano said Indonesia specifically offered to help the Philippines "counter radicalization through education."

The Philippine presidential palace said Duterte also once again expressed his interest in the resumption of the Philippines-Indonesia routes to further strengthen trade between the two countries.

Marsudi, for her part, expressed her interest in pursuing the joint education program between the Philippines and Indonesia.

She said that the Indonesian government wants to confer 300 passports for Indonesian descents living in Mindanao.

ISIS-inspired extremists attacked Marawi City in May 2017, triggering a five-month intense fighting between the government security forces and Islamist militants. Authorities said militants from neighboring Indonesia and Malaysia helped the local extremists in plotting the Marawi seige.

Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines have started joint patrols in the seas bordering the three countries to counter efforts of Islamist extremists to establish a base in Southeast Asia.