Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on November 10, 2009.
DEFINING the border of the Philippines and Indonesia is one of issues discussed during the 28th Vice Chairman's Conference of the Philippines-Indonesia Border Committee conducted in Manado , Indonesia last week.
The Philippines and Indonesia are now working together to draw up a clearer definition of the border between the two countries to prevent the overlapping of territorial areas.
"We hope to be able to resolve a few issues in this meeting. And one of them is the definition of mutually agreed coordinated border patrol area between the two countries. We want to have a clearer definition of our border area," said Commodore Ediberto Suria, chief of the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao (NFEM) who headed the Philippine delegation during the conference.
The Naval Force chief said there is a strong need to revise the area of coordinated patrol operation because of the changes brought about by the new baseline laws of both countries that were separately passed recently.
He said the coordinated patrol between Indonesia and the Philippines has actually identified certain existing areas but these have to be revised to define a common maritime border patrol area with respect to the new baseline laws.
"There is a need to identify new coordinates for the common maritime border patrol areas to meet the challenging demands of addressing various perceived and possible threats between the two countries," Suria said.
The need to define an agreed median line in the border area has to be mutually agreed upon by both Indonesia and the Philippines .
"Once it will be defined, it will now determine where we can conduct combined or coordinated patrols. Right now, without that median line, we just look at which areas can become the border areas," the NFEM chief said..
At present, the Philippines and Indonesia have three border patrol stations and are currently actively working on ushering business opportunities for the two countries in Mindanao and East Indonesia .
"What we are trying to do here is to as much as possible come up with a formal trade route that would enhance cross-border trading and travel between the two areas. Those passing through the route that we establish would be protected by authorities especially since they also pay the correct tariffs and duties," Suria added. (CPM)