By: Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos
Malacañang said yesterday that Indonesian President Joko Widodo has reaffirmed his country’s commitment to help the Philippines fight terrorism in Mindanao.
President Duterte spoke with Widodo over the telephone Wednesday night to discuss security matters following the threat of the Islamic State to establish a caliphate in Asia.
According to presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, the phone call between the two Southeast Asian leaders was fruitful and productive.
“They both felt the need to step up cooperation to address threats posed by terrorism and violent extremism,” Abella said during a Palace press briefing.
“Both noted the importance of the trilateral meeting between Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines to strengthen cooperation on countering terrorism among regional neighboring states,” he added.
The Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia has launched a trilateral maritime patrol to combat terrorism, piracy, and other transnational crimes in regional waters following the deadly clashes between government troops and Islamic State-inspired militants in Marawi City.
Abella said that Widodo also vowed to help the Philippines restore peace in Mindanao, particularly in war-torn Marawi.
“President Widodo reaffirmed Indonesia’s commitment to support the Philippines in countering terrorism, including restoring peace and stability in the southern Philippines,” Abella said.
Abella said Duterte welcomed Widodo’s remarks and assured the Indonesian President that the Philippines will stay true to its commitment in working together to address terrorism.