Palace assures gov’t control vs. terrorism

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Manila (October 3)– The Philippine government remains ready to defend the Filipino people against terrorist groups.  In fact, it is “in a better position” to protect the nation against threats of terrorism and violent extremism,  Malacañang reiterated yesterday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Jr. cited a report made by the United States Department of State, which recognized the country’s improved counterterrorism capabilities “in the face of an evolving and increasingly robust terror threat.”

The US Department of State’s Country Reports on Terrorism 2017 cited developments in legislation, law enforcement, border security, countering financing of terrorism and violent extremism, and international and regional cooperation as among the notable efforts made by the Philippines in fighting terrorism.

In a report by the Washington Times last September 30, it cited a State Department assessment of terrorist activity around the globe which puts the Philippines, along with Afghanistan, India, Iraq, and Pakistan, with the most terrorist attacks.

Roque, however, said the government is “firmly in control” of the country’s national security, stressing that not even the so-called “Red October” ouster plot could compel the President to declare a nationwide martial law.

“We don’t recognize any viable threat against the administration dahil solid nga po ang suporta ng taumbayan kay President [Rodrigo] Duterte,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet official said Malacañang will leave it to Congress to decide on the proposed amendments to the Human Security Act of 2007, which seeks to allow extended detention periods for suspected terrorists.

“For as long as it is limited to that period of time, it is pretrial, and it is for the purpose of preventing escape or prevent the destruction of evidence, it could be acceptable,” Roque noted.

He reiterated President Duterte’s commitment to support all efforts that aim to strengthen the country’s existing anti-terrorism laws.   “It is important that our legal infrastructure be ready to deal with the threat of ISIS-type terrorism,” Roque said.- Jiann Padillo/ NewsLine

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