Shangri-La Hotel, Jakarta, Indonesia
September 9, 2016
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte met with members of the Filipino Community on the second day of his working visit in Indonesia.
Speaking before hundreds of Filipinos gathered at the Grand Ballroom of Shangri-La Hotel in Jakarta, President Duterte said that he is in Indonesia to talk to Indonesian President Joko Widodo about maritime security in the territorial jurisdiction of their respective countries. This follows the issues pertaining to a series of kidnappings of foreign nationals who are mostly Indonesians in Southern Philippines earlier this year.
“I am here to get an agreement with him because there is so much piracy in the seas,” the President said.
According to Philippine Ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia Maria Lumen B. Isleta, the defense and military groups of the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia are currently working on a joint declaration for a trilateral arrangement in securing passage among maritime areas of common concern.
“There have been specialized meetings also among the defense groups, the military to work on the standard operating procedures (SOP)… So I think they’re now working on the details of how to actually operationalize this on the ground, or maybe I should say on the seas,” Ambassador Isleta said.
The SOP is an initiative to prevent kidnapping and piracy especially in the Sulu Sea.
President Duterte also reiterated his administration’s fight against illegal drugs and extended his gratitude to the Chinese government on its commitment to build a rehabilitation center in the Philippines.
“China is helping us. I would like to thank China for being generous to us,” he added.
During the last presidential elections in May 2016, President Duterte won the majority of overseas votes in Indonesia or 62% of the total Filipino Community population.
* * *