Much credit goes to President Rodrigo Duterte. With all the pressure coming from different directions against the signing of the Anti-Terrorism Bill into law, at the end of the day, it is his strong political will that mattered most.
I cannot imagine this measure being signed under another administration. If only for this, I take my hat off to the President.
We crafted the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 based on the guidelines and standards set by the United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 1373. It was the UN that prodded the Philippines to strengthen its laws against terrorism.
So, is this the United Nations going up against the United Nations?
The problem with the critics of the Anti-Terrorism Bill like the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights and the others is that they criticize without even reading the bill itself.
While I can easily relate to Philippine Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay and understand how he feels about the Army officers slain in Sulu, emotions running high at this point is the last thing they need.
For all they know, their common enemies such as the terrorists and armed insurgents are already celebrating the Sulu incident – and even making plans to exploit it.
These enemies of the State and our people, through their legal fronts, are very capable of fanning the flames of animosity between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police by creating intrigues to further divide the country’s two major security forces.
A speedy but thorough determination of the facts that led to the tragic shooting of four Army officers by police in Sulu is critical and cannot be emphasized enough.
It is wise and proper that both Philippine National Police Chief P/Gen. Archie Gamboa and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. have agreed that the National Bureau of Investigation take full control of the criminal investigation, and allow the evidence to dictate the findings.
But the NBI’s investigation results notwithstanding, and more than making fully accountable all those responsible for the incident, the ground commanders of both sides must be in full control of the situation to avoid an escalation of the situation.
Our security forces already have their hands full in their fight against their common adversaries such as terrorism and insurgency in Mindanao. Allowing disunity in any form would give the enemy an unwanted advantage that could prove fatal for our nation.
In an interview on PTV-4’s Laging Handa public briefing, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* Why the Anti-Terrorism Bill is urgent [21:12]
* DOH leadership woes in dealing with COVID-19 threat [23:15]
* National ID’s value amid pandemic [24:56]
* Implementing the GMRC Law [28:03]
Before a special session is called, it is best for the Executive Department and Congress to first agree on a mutually acceptable legislative measure to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the social and economic problems that beset our country. That way, we won’t be wasting our time.
However, as long as the Department of Health is incompetently led and the health issue cannot be addressed appropriately, we will be in a Sisyphus-like situation. Worse, we will just be throwing away our country’s very limited resources that could bring us neck-deep in debt with no solution in sight.
It’s bad enough that we will be forced to scrounge and even borrow just to augment our already limited funds. It’s infuriating if we lose it all – and more – to incompetence.
Hindi sana naganap ang madugo at mapanirang pambobomba sa Marawi noong 2017, kung umiiral na noon ang iminungkahing Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, bunga na rin ng mga klaro at mabibigat na probisyon nito laban sa terorismo.
Ayon sa mambabatas, kung noon pa ay may mas matapang na batas na laban sa terorismo, siguradong mapipigilan ang karahasan at nailigtas ang maraming buhay at ari-arian.
“Had this measure been in effect earlier instead of the 2007 Human Security Act, the Marawi Siege could have been prevented. For one, a new feature under this bill is to make punishable inchoate offenses, something not present under the present Human Security Act of 2007,” pagsisiwalat ni Lacson.
The deadly and protracted Marawi Siege of 2017 could have been prevented had the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 been in effect at the time, due to its tough provisions against inchoate offenses as well as its mechanism for cutting off terrorists’ funding.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson stressed this as he pointed out the country cannot afford to wait for a repeat of the urban battle that lasted five months and caused massive loss of life and property.
“Had this measure been in effect earlier instead of the 2007 Human Security Act, the Marawi Siege could have been prevented. For one, a new feature under this bill is to make punishable inchoate offenses, something not present under the present Human Security Act of 2007,” Lacson, who sponsored the bill in the Senate, said at an online forum of the League of Provinces of the Philippines on Thursday, when asked by Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose ‘Bong’ Lacson.
After reading the transcript of his remarks before the Management Association of the Philippines yesterday, I think he has made up his mind on his interpretation, so in the meantime I will leave it at that.
That said, I am scheduled to speak before the same MAP membership meeting on June 24, and I will have the opportunity to respond point by point to the constitutional issues and concerns that he raised as guest speaker of the same forum.
It’s about time. I can only hope that this time around, the investigation will bear fruit and find those concerned liable and suffer the consequences of their misdeeds in taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis for self-aggrandizement.