THE Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia on Thursday agreed to work together to thwart the flow of money into terrorist groups as well as their communications systems, to stem the spread of Islamic State (IS) adherents in the region.
Top diplomats of the three neighboring countries reaffirmed their governments’ commitment to address transnational challenges and threats, in a trilateral security meeting hosted by Manila.
In a joint statement, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno
Marsudi and Malaysian Foreign Affairs Minister Dato’ Sri Anifah Aman, agreed on proposed plans of action to help stop terrorism and extremism in the region.
The countries agreed to stop the flow of terrorist financing and the spread of terrorism and terrorism-related content in cyberspace, particularly in social media.
“Prevent and suppress the terrorist exploitation of information and communication technology and the dissemination of terrorist messages; and prevent and stop the flow of illicit arms and arms smuggling as well as the movement of all terrorists,” the ministers said in their joint statement.
The ministers, together with security and defense officials, discussed recent incidents of terrorism and violent extremism in their countries, and resolved to develop and implement counter-terrorism measures and strategies.
Senior officials were tasked to enhance intelligence and information-sharing on potential, imminent and real threats, and come up with specialized military and law enforcement training.
The ministers also agreed to:
– a trilateral cooperative arrangement and other sub-regional efforts to combat transnational crime; and review and implement existing agreements on terrorism and violent extremism;
– counter the recruitment operation of terrorists by improving education and community engagement, including the involvement of religious leaders and the promotion of “tolerance, moderation and unity in diversity”; and
– the inclusion of “de-radicalization,” rehabilitation and reintegration programs as part of proposed action plans.
The three countries will also work to protect vulnerable groups, particularly women, children and the youth.
“The Ministers reiterated their shared view that success in effectively addressing transnational threats can only be achieved through the proper development of strategies, and cooperation in security and intelligence on a regional scale,” the joint statement said.
The next meeting will be hosted by Indonesia in October.
Support for PH
In her opening statement, Marsudi said no country was immune from terrorism. She was referring to the crisis in Marawi City involving the IS-linked Maute group.
“Indonesia strongly condemns the terror attack. On behalf of the government of Indonesia let me express our sympathy and condolences especially to the families of police and armed forces of the Philippines. Rest assured that Indonesia stands ready to support the Philippines,” said Marsudi.
Marsudi proposed the trilateral meeting on terrorism, which she said would allow the three nations to discuss the problem and exchange information on radical groups and terrorism.
Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah emphasized the need to adopt a comprehensive and flexible approach in addressing terrorism and extremism.
Anifah said the dissatisfaction, humiliation and alienation experienced by certain groups from the social, economic and cultural structures of society were being exploited by terrorists.
“We must solidify cooperation and coordination of all countries to marginalize extremism, reclaim the center and shape the agenda into peace,” he said.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Cayetano argued that drugs, crime, poverty and injustices create fertile ground for extremism.
“The struggle to uplift the quality of life is the ultimate struggle,” Cayetano said.