Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia launch Trilateral Air Patrol
The Philippine, Malaysia and Indonesia launched on Thursday the Trilateral Air Patrol (TAP) in a ceremony in Malaysia Thursday, the spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said.
Major. Gen. Restituto Padilla the ceremony held at Subang Air Base was attended by ministers of defense from Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia with their respective chiefs of defense and air chiefs.
“Brunei and Singapore also sent their representatives as observers,” he said.
Padilla noted that the Trilateral Air Patrol was made to complement the Trilateral Maritime Patrol that was launched last June 19, 2017.
“The Trilateral Air Patrol of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines that complements the earlier arrangement for the conduct of the Trilateral Maritime Patrol for the common Area of Maritime Interest among these countries was launched today in Subang Air Base in Malaysia at around 2:30pm,” he said.
Padilla said under the Trilateral Air Patrol agreement the air assets will conduct regular patrol at the common area of concern of the three states.
“The TAP agreement is a good boost to the previous Trilateral Maritime Patrol Agreement. Air assets will patrol regularly areas of common concern especially in light of the threat posed by the Daesh. We need to maximize and harness soft power approaches to keep our region safe,” he said.
Padilla said the “agreement has designated the area of maritime interest that will be the subject of both maritime and air patrols.”
“It will be carried out from designated staging points. Tarakan for Indonesia, Bongao for Philippines and Tawau for Malaysia. Each country will take turns leading the mission thru a designated mission commander using host country air assets,” he said.
“Air patrol will be monitored from a maritime coordinating center. A host country will use their air assets with other nations patrol teams aboard,” he added.
Padilla also emphasized the importance of securing areas of common concern for the three countries.
“Trade passing thru our southern seas and maritime areas of common concern amounts to 40 billion dollars annually...this is definitely an area of common concern that needs to be protected,” he said
“Terrorists have and are now using these areas as transhipment points and avenues of movement that would be better addressed by common efforts from like-minded countries,” he added. Robina Asido/DMS