Philippines To Tighten Border Security
The Philippines plans to force all vessels to use designated sea lanes along the borders with Malaysia and Indonesia to deny militants easy access to its restive Muslim areas, the defence secretary said. Avelino Cruz said the Australian government was also helping Manila establish a coastal watch system in the southern Philippines to improve border controls around its 7,100 islands. “Our Philippine Navy and Coast Guard ships would board and inspect all vessels and watercraft that would be passing outside a delineated maritime route,” Cruz said.
At more than 36,000 km long, the Philippine coastline is seen as a weak with militants exploiting a multitude of private inlets and the navy’s lack of equipment to evade capture. Cruz said President Arroyo had discussed the counter-terrorism plan with the leaders of Malaysia and Indonesia.