The Navy of the Philippines and the Royal Australian Navy today held a round of maritime exercises against piracy and terrorism in the waters near Sabah.

According to Rene Medina, commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao, patrol boats, HMAS Broome and HMAS Launceston, from Australia arrived on Monday the Port of Zamboanga for training lasting 21 days refers the digital newspaper Phil Star.

He explained that the drills will be carried out in the waters of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, near the border with Sabah, an area where security is critical due to piracy and kidnappings of the Abu Sayyaf group, a regional affiliate of the extremist organization Islamic State.

The first round of joint exercises was held last October and is part of the anti-piracy and anti-terrorism campaign promoted by the government of Rodrigo Duterte, which helps curb security threats affecting the Mindanao islands, Medina said.

In March 2016, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia agreed to establish joint patrols in the Joló Sea, an area in which the Philippine jihadist group Abu Sayyaf has abducted several Indonesian and Malaysian sailors.

“I am very sure that our navies share common concerns to guarantee safe seas and commercial routes for our people and their respective communities,” said Medina.

Last year there were 22 incidents of this type in the Philippines, more than double the number of maritime attacks in 2016.