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Look into terrorists’ financing

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Letters to the Editor

Look into terrorists’ financing

/ 05:00 AM October 14, 2017

Please allow me to give my two cents’ worth on the matter of countering terrorism in the Philippines.

I believe that addressing terrorism, including other acts involving violent extremism and rebellion, is not just a matter of military operations and prosecution of perpetrators under the Human Security Act of 2007. It is also about looking into financing as a vital aspect of a good case management framework.

While amendments to broaden the coverage and application of the Human Security Act, as well as the institutionalization of a national ID system and SIM card registration, are promising measures to counter terrorism, the defense sector and the military should also consider cooperative or interagency measures to implement our existing antiterrorism financing laws.

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A major blow that could incapacitate, if not eradicate, any terrorist group is to cut off its life support, i.e., resources or funds that sustain its unlawful operations. This would surely deprive the very means for which these entities are able to organize massive recruitments and purchase top-caliber weapons that enable them to put up resistance against our military troops. The Philippines has long recognized this fact, as manifested by its being a state party to the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and a participant to other related UN programs and initiatives. Consequently, in keeping with its undertakings therein, the Philippines enacted the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 and the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012.

Among the unlawful activities covered and addressed under the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001, as amended, are: 1) terrorism and conspiracy to commit terrorism as defined and penalized under Sections 3 and 4 of the Human Security Act of 2007; and 2) financing of terrorism under Section 4 and offenses punishable under Sections 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012.

On the other hand, the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012 has a provision on punishing “financing terrorism,” which pertains to the possession, provision, collection or utilization of property or funds, or making available property, funds, financial service or other related services, by any person to carry out or facilitate the commission of any terrorist act by a terrorist organization, association, group, or individual.

It is submitted that by looking into these laws and reconciling them with existing legal processes and measures, our defense sector could come up with a more holistic and encompassing approach to terrorism resolution. It could also pave the way for new partnerships and increased cooperation among banking and financial institutions, community stakeholders, and other civil society organizations.

In the face of current atrocities brought forth by existing and emerging terrorist groups, such as the Islamic State-inspired Maute group, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Abu Sayyaf, and New People’s Army, it wouldn’t hurt for our government to look at the flipside.

ADELAIDA CABADDU, acabaddu@outlook.com

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