ASEAN Plans Military Training Exercises - DFA

Manila Bulletin, July 6, 2004 | Go to article overview

ASEAN Plans Military Training Exercises - DFA


Byline: DAVID CAGAHASTIAN

Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFACOM) Executive Director Zosimo Jesus Paredes said the proposal came during the ASEAN ministerial meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, last week.

"There is really this plan in the future to hold multilateral military exercises with ASEAN countries, like Malaysia, Thailand, among others, and the area of concentration would be the East Asia region. This is to combat world terrorism," Paredes said.

He added the plan is aimed at protecting the region from international terrorist groups in Asia, including the Jemaah Islamiyah, Abu Sayyaf, and other al-Qaeda-linked groups.

Paredes did not specify the details of the planned ASEAN anti-terrorism training exercises, but expressed the Philippines support for such a program.

He said the VFA would like to initiate the plan to train ASEAN troops, but the government must first get the support of the public.

"From the point of view of the VFA, we would like to make the initiation, but we have a public that is very, very sensitive," he said.

Abu suspect

Defense Secretary Eduardo Ermita announced yesterday the arrest of a suspected leader of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group tagged as responsible for kidnappings in Mindanao who was listed in the government cash reward program against notorious criminals in the country.

Ermita, also chairman of the National Anti-Terrorism Council, identified the arrested suspect as Ibno Alih Ordonez, alias "Ibno Abbas Abdil, tagged by the military as an Abu Sayyaf leader who was nabbed on the strength of an arrest warrant issued by the Basilan City Regional Trial Court for triple frustrated murder and several counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention. …

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