Regional monitor notes decrease in piracy in southern Philippines
This file photo shows the BRP Mariano Alvarez (PS-38), which has been conducting patrols and participating in maritime exercises with ships from Indonesia and Malaysia.
Naval Forces Western Mindanao

Regional monitor notes decrease in piracy in southern Philippines

Roel Pareño (Philstar.com) - April 20, 2021 - 9:23pm

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Piracy near the maritime boundaries of the southern Philippines has been reduced and there have been no abductions reported in the first quarter of 2021, a regional monitoring group said.

A report released last Friday by the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) said only two cases of piracy occurred from January to March against four incidents in the same period of 2020.

This was corroborated by the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), whose naval units thwarted an attempted hijacking of a bulk carrier transiting the Sibutu Strait in Tawi-Tawi in March.

The ReCAAP, an Asian government-to-government piracy monitoring organization, said there has been a decrease of incidents in the region, with just 17 cases in the first quarter.

It said the decrease was seen in Bangladesh, India, the Philippines and in the Singapore Strait and Sulu-Celebes Seas. There was a slight increase of incidents in Vietnam, mostly of armed robbery.

ReCAAP also noted the rescue of four Indonesian fishers last March 18 and 21 by military forces in Tawi-Tawi. They had been held by the Abu Sayyaf Grpup since Juanuary 17, 2020. 

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., Westmincom chief, said units near the so-called southern backdoor have intensified operations against the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. The military has also increased its presence in all of the Abu Sayyaf's usual jump-off points to prevent kidnappings and piracy.

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