NSFA, Panacan, Davao City– The AFP’s Eastern Mindanao Command hosted the 32nd Republic of the Philippines-Republic of Indonesia (RP-RI) Border Committee Chairmen’s Conference held at the Grand Regal Hotel Davao City Wednesday morning. The activity is an enabling process that further strengthens mutual commitment for a peaceful resolution of issues arising borders.
The highlight of the event is the signing of a bilateral agreement which consist of the following agenda: 1. To grant navigational lane and allow Philippine flag fishing vessels to pass through Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in going to high seas pocket to conserve time and expenditure; 2. To set guidelines with regard to the type and size of vessels and the mandatory safety equipment on board the vessels in crossing the border; 3. Extend the area of coordinated patrol operation up to Sulu Islands; 4. Modify the concept of operation of coordinated patrol; 5. Harmonize border crossing stations standing operating procedures in both Philippines and Indonesia stations; and 6. Assignment of custom personnel at border crossing stations and restricts transportation of contrabands (liquor) across the borders.
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Rainier G. Cruz III, Commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command and Chairman of the Philippine Border Committee, members of the Unified Staff and concerned government officials warmly welcomed the Chairman of the Republic of Indonesia Border Committee at the same time Commander, Military Area Command VII Maj. Gen. Tni Bachtiar and party comprised of military officers and concerned Indonesian government officials. Maj. Gen. Bachtiar was accorded with traditional military arrival honor by the Vice-Chairman, Philippine Border Committee and Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao Commander Commo. Antonio A. Habulan Jr at the EASTMINCOM Hqs.
Regional directors and officials from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Department of Social Welfare and Development XI, National Statistics Office XI, Maritime Industry XI, Mindanao Development Authority, Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of Quarantine and Department of Foreign Affairs attended the conference.
“This confidence building measure improves our security relations as evidenced by our willingness to exchange information in order to protect our mutual interest. May I pray for everyone to work together as one team so that we could come up with mutually beneficial solutions to both our concerns. We are hopeful that whatever is finalized in today’s activity will doubly serve our countries and friendship” Lt. Gen. Cruz said
It can be recalled that the Philippines and Indonesia are both signatories of the United Nations on the Convention of the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) which later created the Regional Fisheries Management Organization and thereafter created the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission aimed of developing resolutions, conservation and management measures relating to fishing operations in the High Seas at the Pacific Ocean.