Jakarta. The Philippine government has reportedly agreed to allow the Indonesian Military, or TNI, to enter its territory if another hostage situation arises involving Indonesian citizens.
According to a report by state-run Antara news agency, Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said the agreement was reached during a meeting with his Malaysian and Philippine counterparts last week, which centered on standard operational procedures for handling hostage situations.
"We've agreed that if another hostage situation occurs, we will be allowed to enter [Philippine territory]," Ryamizard told reporters in Jakarta on Tuesday (28/06).
He said the Indonesian Military will be allowed to hunt hostage takers in Philippine waters in the spirit of maintaining security and stability in the Southeast Asian region.
However, the agreement does not apply to the current hostage situation, which has seen seven Indonesian crewmembers taken hostage by two armed groups in the southern Philippines.
The crewmembers of the tugboat Charles 001 were abducted in separate attacks in the Sulu Sea on June 24.
Following the incident, the Indonesian government has reactivated a crisis center, established earlier this year, to secure the release of its citizens and maintain good communications with Philippine authorities in an effort to obtain more detailed information regarding the hostage situation.
There have been three hostage situations involving Indonesian citizens in the Philippines in the past three months.
Ten Indonesian crewmembers, who were held hostage the Abu Sayyaf group for more than a month, were released on May 1 following a series of negotiations. Four others, who were abducted by a different branch of the terrorist group, were released 10 days later.