A military camp was established at Turtle Islands, Tawi-Tawi by the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command, with the aim of curbing smuggling, sea piracy and kidnapping in the sea waters bordering the Philippines and Malaysia.
Specifically, the camp was put up last week in Great Bakungan island in Taganak town as a strategic location to prevent the entry of smuggled goods to the country, human trafficking, as well as sea piracy and kidnapping, said Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr. AFP-WestMincom chief.
Surrounded by the Sulu sea in Tawi-Tawi province, the Great Bakungan Island is a tropical island and one of the seven islands, composed of the Turtle Islands.
Mayor Hji Faizal Jamalul, of Turtle Islands, said “the presence of soldiers in his town will be of great help to us particularly in securing the tourists both local and national who are visiting our natural tourism site in the municipality.”
“Turtle Islands [were] known as the nestling site of different turtle species in the world and tourists would like to witness for themselves the laying of their eggs at the shoreline of our islands,” he added.
Taganak town is less than an hour boat ride to Sandakan District in Sabah, and the presence of the military in Great Bakungan is a deterrent to unscrupulous people such as smugglers.
The island, too, promotes better security understanding and cooperation between Sandakan, Malaysia and the Philippines in the promotion of the tourism industry in the Turtle Islands.
PHOTO: The Manila Bulletin