Sun, 22 May 2022

ZAMBOANGA CITY - The Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM), through the Naval Task Force 61, has deployed a vessel to regularly patrol in the country's southern maritime border.

Rear Admiral Toribio Adaci Jr., NFWM commander, said Wednesday BRP-Andres Bonifacio (PS17), one of the Philippine Navy vessels under Naval Task Force 61 deployed in the NFWM area of operation, has been tasked to regularly patrol Sibutu passage and the transit corridors in the tri-border of the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Adaci said the Sibutu passage and the transit corridors in the tri-border are among the critical sea lanes flowing with an immense volume of trades.

"The global economy highlights the importance of the uninterrupted flow of commerce in strategic maritime crossroads," he said.

"With 90 percent of the world's commerce traversing by sea, any issue on safety, security, and stability in these sea lanes of communication would adversely affect the global economy," he added.

Also included in the maritime security patrol duty of BR-Andres Bonifacio is Panguan Island, which is part of Sitangkai town in Tawi-Tawi.

The island is also known as "Pangguan" or resting safe area as it was used by seafarers as a resupply hub in Sitangkai.

The island was also formerly used by Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits, smugglers, and pirates as their logistical hub until the NFWM established a marine detachment in 2016 to secure the territory and stop the exploitation by lawless groups of the vulnerable Sama-Badjao tribe in the place.

Navy Capt. Alan Javier, Naval Task Force 61 commander, said in a statement they will continue to deploy assets to secure the maritime domain, deter threats, respond to emergencies, and promote our maritime nation's way of life.

"The naval patrols safeguard critical sea lanes in our archipelagic waters to promote global security and prosperity," Javier said.

He said the regular presence of naval forces in the area ensures the continuity of the global supply chain. (PNA)

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