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Philippine government allows Indonesian forces to enter Philippine territory

Indonesian government confirmed that they have a go-signal from the Philippine government allowing Indonesian forces to enter Philippine territory and join security operations.

Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said the Indonesian Military (TNI) would be given the authority to take part in security operations to combat militant groups on land, water and air in the Philippines, needing only to ask prior permission from the Philippine authorities, report in Kyodo News.

The decision was made following a meeting between Ryamizard and his counterpart, Voltaire Gazmin, on Sunday, following the new abduction of seven Indonesian sailors by the Abu Sayyaf in waters off the southern Philippines, the third incident for this year.

This was confirmed by Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen Restituto Padilla said Indonesian soldiers can hunt down foreigners who commit crimes, such as kidnapping, when caught in the act.

"They can pursue but not beyond our territorial waters. Tayo na sasalo dun kasi may kontak naman tayo at coordination. Dagat lang lahat ito," Padilla told ANC. He issued the statement in contrast to Kyodo News report saying the Philippine government has given approval for the Indonesian military forces to enter Philippine water and land territory.

"The entry of Indonesian security forces is consistent with an existing agreement between the Philippines and Indonesia which was struck way back in 1975," he said. "It allows Indonesian security forces, in coordination with our, to conduct the hot pursuit of lawless elements on the sea across the maritime borders shared by our countries."

The Philippines also decided to allow Indonesian soldiers to escort Indonesian vessels sailing to and from the Philippines so that they can take quick action in the event the ships come under attack.

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