Friday, November 6, 2015

Philippines and Indonesia hold 34th joint border talks

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) welcomed the convening of the 34th Philippines-Indonesia Border Committee Chairmen’s Conference (BCCC) in Davao City, hosted by the Eastern Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP-EASTMINCOM).

Held annually, the BCCC is the primary platform where the Border Committees of the Philippines and Indonesia discuss border-related issues.

Lt. General Aurelio B. Baladad, AFP-EASTMINCOMM Commander and Rear Admiral Darwanto, S.H., M.A.P. of the Indonesian Navy co-chaired the conference.

DFA and other agencies such as the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, National Mapping and Resource Information Authority, Philippine Coast Guard and regional offices of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Bureau of Customs, Philippine Statistics Authority and the Maritime Industry Authority supported AFP-EASTMINCOMM in the conference.

Aside from discussing operational issues to enhance border cooperation, the Committee agreed on the need to review and revise the 1975 Philippines-Indonesia Agreements on Border Crossing and Border Patrol in order to attune them to current realities, especially in light of the signing and impending entry into force of the Philippines-Indonesia Agreement Concerning the Delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Boundary, which was signed in May 2014.

Below is the full text of the Joint Statement of the two Co-Chairs which was issued at end of the Conference:

The 34th Republic of the Philippines and Republic of Indonesia Border Committee Chairmen’s Conference was convened at the Waterfront Hotel in Davao City on 4-6 November 2015. The Conference is held annually to discuss areas of mutual concern regarding border issues.

In his opening statement, LTGEN AURELIO B BALADAD, Chairman of the Philippine Border Committee, noted that the Conference showcases four decades of peaceful and harmonious relations between the two countries. He expressed hope that the existing 1975 Border Patrol and Border Crossing Agreements would be revised to meet the requirements of the times. LAKSDA TNI DARWANTO, S.H., M.A.P., Chairman of the Indonesian Border Committee, said that the discussions of the committee aim to enhance cooperation addressing border and maritime concerns of the two biggest archipelagic states of the world.

The Sub-Committee on Border Patrol and Communications discussed the need to consider the inclusion of civilian maritime law enforcement agencies in conducting coordinated patrols, update the medium of communications used during maritime patrol operations, and cover other transnational and organized crimes (such as drug trafficking and migrant smuggling) in the list of border offenses.

The Sub Committee on Border Crossing and Intelligence discussed matters relating to the implementation of the 1975 Philippines-Indonesia Border Crossing Agreement. The two sides discussed the deployment of immigration and customs officers and documentation issues, as well as intelligence and information sharing procedures in the Border Crossing Stations.

In view of recent developments in both countries, particularly the signing of the Philippines-Indonesia Exclusive Economic Zone Boundary Delimitation Agreement, both countries agreed to set-up an internal Technical Working Group to review the 1975 Philippines-Indonesia Border Patrol and Border Crossing Agreements.

The 35th Border Committee Chairmen’s Conference will be held in Manado, Indonesia in 2016. (DFA)

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