JAKARTA, Indonesia — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gave Indonesian forces the right to pursue pirates into Philippine waters, saying piracy is one of the main problems between the two countries.
Duterte, who is visiting Jakarta, discussed piracy and other security issues on Friday with Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
He said he was sorry that even shipments of coal from Indonesia destined for Philippine power plants are being affected by piracy.
If Indonesian forces are chasing pirates and they enter Philippine waters, “they can go ahead and blast them off,” Duterte said. “That’s my word actually with Widodo. I said, ‘blow them up.'”
He added, “But maybe if there are sharks around, then we can just feed them to the sharks.”
Nine Indonesians are among 16 foreign hostages currently being held by the Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf in the southern Philippines, where Muslim separatist rebellions have raged for decades.
In May, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines agreed to carry out coordinated patrols following a series of kidnappings and piracy attacks that undermined commerce in the Celebes Sea, where their sea borders overlap.