Michael van Ginkel
Illicit activity in the Sulu and Celebes Seas continues to pose a daunting maritime security challenge for the Philippines. The recent kidnapping of nine fishermen off the coast of Borneo and the increasingly violent modus operandi of the militant Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) have raised safety concerns amongst Philippine policy makers and local communities. Although the Philippines has initiated several maritime enforcement initiatives, including the extensive National Coastal Watch System (NCWS), the government needs to enhance cooperation between land-based and maritime operations and increase engagement between military and civilian agencies to improve regional maritime stability.
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