The country has to take necessary measures to cope up with the “evolving” nature of terrorism, an official of the Department of National Defense (DND) disclosed on Tuesday.
Defense Spokesperson Arsenio Andolong, in defending the enactment of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, said that terrorists are “more difficult” to deal with since their operations have become more sophisticated.
“Talagang nagbago na ang terrorism, itong tinatawag nating asymmetric warfare. Mas sophisticated na silang gumalaw ngayon at mahirap hulihin (Terrorism has really changed, or what we call asymmetric warfare. They have become more sophisticated and difficult to capture),” Andolong said in a radio interview over military-run DWDD.
In the military, asymmetric warfare refers to a conflict between a professional army and a resistant force.
Andolong cited the massive damage caused by the Marawi siege in 2017, when the Islamic State (ISIS)-inspired Maute terror group attempted to takeover the Islamic City; and the Zamboanga siege in 2013, when military battled a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
“Alam niyo po dyan lalo sa lugar ng Mindanao, labas pasok ang mga dayuhan dyan kasi napakaluwag. Kaya nangyari ang Zamboanga at Marawi dahil sa ganoon (You know, foreigners are going in and out of Mindanao because the security is too lax. That’s why the Zamboanga and Marawi [crises] happened),” he claimed.
That is why the defense official said a stricter law such as the Anti-Terrorism Act is needed to fortify the country’s counter-terrorism measures.
Andolong also addressed concerns that the new law is prone to abuse by law enforcers and may be used to silence the critics of the government.
“Ang katotohanan kaya ginawa ang anti-terrorism bill ay para maptrotektahan lalo ng ating pamahalaan ang kaligtasan ng ating mga kababayan. Hindi ito ginawa para apihin ang ating mga kababayan (The truth why the anti-terrorism bill was created is to enable the government to further protect the people. This is not created to abuse our fellowmen),” he said.
“Ito ay talagang ika nga para masugpo natin itong terorismo at isa ito sa mga pamamaraan para maprotektahan natin ang ating mga pamilya at komunidad (This is meant to eradicate terrorism and it’s one way to protect our families and communities),” he said.
Various lawyer’s groups have already filed petitions before the Supreme Court to question the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act.