Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia to meet on terrorism

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia will meet on terrorism next week to forge a "team effort" against extremists, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Friday, June 16.

The meeting will be hosted by the Philippines, where clashes have raged between government troops and local terrorists in the southern city of Marawi since May 23. 

Cayetano said he, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, and their countries' top security personnel will attend the meeting.

Cayetano did not specify the date of the meeting, saying the event is still being arranged.

"The aim is to make a group effort, an inter-country effort, a team effort, rather than each country fending off extremism by themselves," Cayetano said. 

He added that the 3 countries will discuss how the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) "can play a more major role in preventing the spillover" of terrorism "from Iraq and Syria." 

He pointed out that this "is a brainchild of the Indonesian foreign minister." 

On May 24, at least 5 people died after a suicide bombing at a bus terminal in Jakarta.  

A day before this, on May 23, terrorists linked to the Islamic State (ISIS) launched their attacks on Marawi City.

In a Rappler Talk interview with Maria Ressa, terror analyst Rohan Gunaratna stressed the need for Southeast Asia to unite against ISIS, also known by the acronym IS.

"If government is serious in the Philippines, and if governments in the region are serious, they will all work together with the Philippines to dismantle the IS presence in this region, especially in the Philippines, which is the epicenter of IS activity now in Southeast Asia." – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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