The Philippine Navy and its Malaysian counterpart will hold bilateral military exercise in a move to enhance maritime security and boost efforts to combat transnational crimes affecting the two countries.
Dubbed as “MTA MALPHI LAUT 18/15” the joint exercises will be take place from August 24 to 28 in the Sulu seas and involve ships, aircraft and special units from the two navies, according to Rear Admiral Primitivo Gopo, Commander of Naval Forces Western Mindanao through Public Affairs Officer Ensign Ian Ramos.
The bilateral activity, the 18th in a series of naval exercise, will be hosted by the Philippines since the signing of the Defense Cooperation under the Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries in 1994.
The joint naval exercise came in the midst of the unresolved Sabah issue being pursued by the Sultanate of Sulu parallel to Malaysia’s pursuit for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, as a broker in the peace accord between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front .
Malaysia has established a floating naval force fronting Sulu waters in an attempt to keep militants from Southern Philippines at bay and provide a buffer zone for the expected exodus of refugees from hostilities in Mindanao.
The Navy said the primary objective of the exercise is to enhance interoperability between the two Navy forces and developed better understanding and cooperation between them.