Indonesian security forces cannot help in the ongoing search-and-rescue operations for its 10 nationals who were reportedly kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits while passing off Tawi-Tawi over the weekend.
“Per our constitution, we do not allow military forces here without a treaty,” Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said.
He was referring to Article XVIII, Section 25 of the 1987 Constitution which explicitly prohibits foreign military bases in the Philippines.
It also states that “foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.”
Padilla made this statement after Indonesia offered the use of its military and police units in tracking down the bandits and its captive nationals.
He also said the AFP is quite capable of locating and rescuing the victims.
The victims were aboard the Brahma-12, also an Indonesian-owned tugboat, along with a sister vessel, was towing a barge laden with 7,000 tons of coal, when allegedly attacked by the bandits over the weekend.
It was en route from Puting river in Banjarmasin in Indonesia’s South Kalimantan province to the Batangas in the Philippines.
Local authorities found Brahma-12 abandoned off Languyan Island, Tawi-Tawi on Monday afternoon.
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