Senator Ronald Dela Rosa said on Tuesday he believes that the newly-signed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 will also help address the country’s problem on illegal drugs, citing the “symbiotic relationship” between drug lords and terrorist groups.
“The Anti Terror Act of 2020 will have an impact on our drug situation especially here in Mindanao because there is a symbiotic relationship between the drug lords and the terror groups,” said Dela Rosa, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, in a video statement.
“The drug lords feed the terror groups with drug money while the terror groups provide protection, shelter, and safe haven to these drug lords especially if they are desperate,” Dela Rosa pointed out.
He said that when the Duterte government launched the war on drugs in 2016, they received intelligence reports indicating that the drug lords they were hunting in Metro Manila could no longer be found because they sought refuge with known terror groups in Lanao.
“They sought refute with terror groups like Maute and ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). So that is how their relationship is,” he pointed out.
“And if you noticed that during the height of the Marawi siege, government troops were able to recover large amounts of money believed to be drug money,” he explained.
“So I believe this anti-terror act will really have an effect on our drug situation. Hopefully, it can help in a positive way,” he stressed.
President Duterte last week signed the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which repeals the Human Security Act of 2007 or HSA.
Several groups have opposed the move and filed petitions before the Supreme Court, saying the newly-signed law disregards human rights, suppresses dissent and tramples the country’s democratic principles.
Proponents of the measure in the Senate and House of Representatives, however, defended the law, assuring it has enough safeguards against any abuse.