PH, US navies hold coordinated anti-piracy patrol in Sulu Sea

Elias Hubbard
July 2, 2017

The Philippines also held joint patrols in the tri-border area with Indonesia and Malaysia.

Manila: The Philippines and Indonesia will jointly patrol the Celebes Sea this week to stop Islamist militants reaching the Philippines' restive southern island of Mindanao, where rebels have seized a city, an army spokesman said on Sunday.

As part of the maritime operation, a group of Philippines sailors boarded the USS Coronado to improve communications and movements between the two ships.

The Philippines was joined by the United States on Saturday to patrol southern Philippine waters.

Earlier, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said that he is moving the country away from the United States, which is its main defence ally and towards China and Russian Federation.

The Philippines conducts regular military exchanges with the USA, including the Balikatan, despite earlier threats from President Rodrigo Duterte to end military exercises with the country's long-standing ally. The two countries' warships will sail from the Philippines' Davao city on Thursday.

Manila never completely cut military ties to Washington, however.

The pact allows for the expansion of the rotational deployment of USA warships, aircraft, and troops at five bases across the Philippines, as well as the storage of equipment for humanitarian and maritime security operations. After the November election of Donald Trump, though, Duterte said he thought he'd have a better relationship with the new US president and wanted to continue with planned military exercises in 2017. Lorenzana added that President Duterte has promised to respect all existing agreements with the US. Sometimes, they have also beaheaded their hostages when the demanded ransoms were not paid.

The Philippines military is now engaged in a lingering offensive on militants linked to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

There are worldwide fears fighters sympathetic to Islamic State will cross maritime borders between Malaysia and Indonesia to join Muslim rebels who seized Marawi City in the southern Philippines five weeks ago.

The Abu Sayyaf fighters are also believed to have joined with other militants in taking over the southern Philippine city of Marawi in May and are still battling Philippine troops.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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