Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (Photo: AFP)
 
Hanoi​ (VNA) – The Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia will launch joint patrols in piracy-plagued waters after a series of attacks of Islamic militants to kidnap and murder foreigners, said Philippine Secretary of Defence Delfin Lorenzana on March 9 at a press conference.

Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana added that he and his counterparts from Malaysia and Indonesia agreed to patrol a sea lane where commercial vessels could pass with protection from the three nations' navies.

The joint patrol will begin in April or May, noted the Philippine Secretary.

The Philippines will purchase equipment to help the fight against Abu Sayyaf militant group such as high-speed boats, drones and radars, as part of the country’s military modernisation programme, he added. 

The decision was made after Abu Sayyaf – a kidnap-for-ransom network that pledges allegiance to the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) group, has been kidnapping sailors on fishing vessels and cargo barges.

Currently, about 31 foreign and local hostages are held by the Abu Sayyaf. The group has been kidnapping foreigners and locals for decades and capturing them for ransoms at its remote island posts in southern Philippines.-VNA