BORDER TIES. Lt. Gen. Greg Almerol (sitting left), commander of Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) and chairperson of the Philippine Border Committee, and Rear Admiral Dr. TSNB Hutabarat MMS (sitting right), head of the Indonesian Navy's 2nd Fleet Command and Indonesian Border Committee (IDBC), issue a joint statement in Davao City Friday (Dec. 16, 2022). Both officials emphasized the need for more sea border patrols in 2023 to enhance security in the maritime borders of both countries. (PNA photo by Robinson Niñal Jr.)

DAVAO CITY –  The Philippine Border Committee (PHBC) and Indonesian Border Committee (IDBC) are eyeing for more sea patrols in the south next year to boost border control.

The move forms part of the 12-point agenda being proposed by both governments, according to Lt. Gen. Greg Almerol, the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) commander, and Rear Admiral Dr. TSNB Hutabarat MMS, commander of the Indonesian Navy's 2nd Fleet Command and IDBC chairperson, in a joint statement Friday.

This came about as the PHBC and IDBC concluded on Dec. 14 the Coordinated Patrol Philippines-Indonesia (CORPAT PHIL-INDO) activity here.

"Expect that we will increase the frequency of conducting patrols to once a month to do our part, especially in cases of shipwreck due to calamities and typhoons, and to address the concerns of our fishermen who are in those areas," said Almerol, who is also the PHBC chairperson.

CORPAT PHIL-INDO is a joint patrol between the Indonesian Navy and the Philippine Navy, to enhance interoperability and secure the maritime borders of both countries against piracy, illegal crossing, and other criminal activities.

Almerol underscored the importance for the Philippines and Indonesia to adopt new strategies that will boost the coordinated patrol's effectiveness.

This year, the series of CORPAT exercises began on March 28-30, followed by the 2nd Leg on July 05-11 with an opening ceremony in Manado City, Indonesia; the 3rd Leg in the last week of October, and the 4th Leg from Dec. 11-16 with the closing ceremony here.

The 4th Leg's Sea Phase, held on Dec. 11-13, was joined by the BRP Artemio Ricarte PS-37 from the Philippine Navy and KRI HUI-634 from the Indonesian Navy, completing several maritime security patrols and exercises with a total steaming time of 47 hours and 51 minutes covering 515.2 nautical miles.

Some of the CORPAT's significant accomplishments this year include the repatriation of 14 Filipinos from Indonesia back to their families on July 11 and the return of seven Filipino fishermen to the country on Nov. 22 after they were rescued by a Japanese vessel when their boat capsized near the Philippines-Indonesia border.

"The coordinated patrol exercise needs to adopt, together with our counterparts, a new strategy on enhancing the interoperability between our forces and make the same more responsive and effective operationally for a safer and more secure maritime environment," Almerol said.

Meanwhile, Hutabarat expressed his gratitude to all the members of the Philippines-Indonesia Border Committees for their cooperation and professionalism that made the CORPAT PHIL-INDO successful.

"We hope this cooperation becomes stronger and develops a necessary means of our security and friendship for years to come," he said. (PNA)