MANILA - The Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia launched on Monday trilateral patrols on the borders to prevent the movement of Islamic jihadists.
This is amid the crisis perpetrated by Maute terrorists in Marawi City as well as calls of the ISIS terror group to mount attacks in the Philippines.
Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the joint patrols initially aim to address the countries' porous borders and to prevent abductions in the high seas.
"More than that is the movement of personnel bound from one country to another who are fugitives of their own laws and seeking haven in these parts of these different countries as well as providing assistance to the groups of jihadists in these areas," said Padilla.
At least 8 foreign fighters have been confirmed killed in the fighting in Marawi, all of whom may have been able to enter the Philippines through the country's southern backdoor from Indonesia and Malaysia.
However, the AFP also said there is a need to strengthen immigration protocols to prevent the entry of terrorists into the country after a foreign jihadist killed in Piagapo, Lanao Del Sur was found to have passed through immigration when he entered the Philippines from Singapore.
"Iminungkahi natin na kinakailangan siguro na tingnan nang mabuti 'yung Human Security Act para mas maging matibay 'yung pwedeng gawin para harangin 'yung pag-pasok ng mga ganitong klaseng indibidwal," Padilla said.
In his speech last Saturday President Duterte said that foreign terrorists have joined the Maute group in Marawi.
"So you have a conglomeration there of ISIS fighters from Syria, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lankan, at 'yung mga Arabo na --- maputi. Maputi 'yung Arabo eh. Na… Kuwait," Duterte said.