NEWLY appointed Armed Forces Chief Rey Leonardo Guerrero said he would push for stronger regional security in a bid to combat transnational crimes.
Lt. Gen. Guerrero cited in particular border security with Malaysia and Indonesia through the Trilateral Cooperation Arrangement, which was signed by the two countries and the Philippines in June.
Guerrero also said that he was seeking to increase coordinated patrols between the Philippines and countries within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
This aims to put a stop to crimes, including kidnapping, trafficking and the transit of terror personalities via the Sulu Sea.
“We will also increase the frequency of our coordinated patrols with our Asean counterparts in order to prevent the use of our common maritime borders for illegal activities,” Guerrero said in a statement.
In October, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, former AFP chief Eduardo Año and their counterparts in Malaysia and Indonesia launched the Trilateral Air Patrol aimed at curbing terrorism within the three countries.
The increased security estimated at $40 billion a year will also protect the maritime areas of the three countries and keep the Southeast Asian region safe from any threat.
Guerrero also said that the AFP also banked on the national policy and defense agenda to develop a “credible defense force” by strengthening the naval and air capabilities, which would result into a “more effective” monitoring and control of sea lanes and air space within the region.
“For this, we will reinforce our Maritime Domain awareness on our maritime areas of interest particularly our sea lanes of communications. We will also push through with our capability build-up in order to enhance our maritime operations capability,” Guerrero said.
The AFP also sought improvement in terms of international security engagements, including the activation of the International Military Affairs Center, and would want to shift its training methodology for the AFP’s peacekeeping units “involving temporarily formed units to deploying existing units” of the Armed Forces, Guerrero said.
According to Col. Edgard Arevalo, the AFP public affairs chief, Guerrero’s plans were for the assurance that the military would be on track with its goals.
“The Command Guidance outlines the Chief of Staff’s courses of action and orders for the line units and offices to follow to ensure that the AFP remains on track on its short and long-term goals,” Arevalo said.