STRONGER TIES. Lt. Gen. Greg Almerol, the commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command and chairman of the Philippine Border Committee (left) signs the 12 proposed agenda items that were adopted during the 39th Indonesia-Philippines Border Committee Chairmen’s Conference held in Davao City on Wednesday (Nov. 23, 2022). Along with Rear Admiral TNI Dr. TSNB Hutabarat, MMS, the commander of the Indonesian Military Command II, the parties expect the further enhancement of the 1975 Border Patrol and Border Crossing Agreements between the two countries. (PNA photo byRobinson Niñal Jr.) 

DAVAO CITY – The Philippines and Indonesia recommended the approval of the 12-point agenda that would enhance diplomatic relations and joint implementation of the 1975 border agreements between the two countries.

The PH-Indonesia BCCC (Border Committee Chairmen's Conference) is an annual activity that seeks to review and strengthen existing measures for the safe passage of respective nationals of both countries, including the protection of fisherfolk and the prevention of terrorists from transiting in the border areas.

In an interview Thursday, Lt. Gen. Greg Almerol, the Armed Forces of the Philippines Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) chief, said they are considering the threat posed by transnational terrorists to the Philippines and Indonesia, and decided to look into the enhancement of intelligence cooperation and other security-related matters.

"Our sincerity manifests commitment in the principles of mutual respect, teamwork, and cooperation,” Almerol said.

On Wednesday, Eastmincom officials and several Indonesian counterparts assembled at the SMX Center here for the event held simultaneously via zoom with Indonesian military officials in Manado City, Indonesia.

Almerol, who served as chairperson of the Philippine Border Committee, was joined by Rear Admiral TNI Dr. TSNB Hutabarat, MMS, the commander of the Indonesian Military Command II, during the event.

Both committees deliberated on matters of common concern and interest to both countries.

“This annual event is one of the major occasions to showcase to the rest of the world our almost five decades of peaceful and harmonious co-existence," Almerol said.

The two agreed to implement policies that will standardize the safety and protection of Filipino and Indonesian nationals at the borders and improve consular access for detained Filipinos.

Both parties also pushed for the standardization of implementing the Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) by primarily revising its Standing Operating Procedure.

They also agreed to accelerate the review of the 1975 Border Patrol and Border Crossing Agreements that will seek to recommend amendments to its provisions to attune to the prevailing situation in maritime security and terrorism in both countries.

"We have the same purpose to overcome issues happening and relating to the border between both countries. The results of this Chairmen's Conference are real forms of providing solutions for our future," Hutabarat said.

Hutabarat maintained his high hopes that the result of the meeting will contribute to a stronger, closer and more meaningful partnership between the Philippines and Indonesia. (PNA)