Anti-Terrorism Act is key to solving terrorist violence –Dela Rosa

Published August 25, 2020, 5:27 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa said on Tuesday that the enactment into law of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, or Republic Act No. 11479, is key to resolving the gruesome terrorist crimes in the Philippines.

Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa
(Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa / Facebook page / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Dela Rosa, in a privilege speech on Tuesday, said the law, which many human rights advocates have repeatedly opposed, is just what the country needs to fully stamp out terrorism and prevent further deaths from happening.

The senator pointed this out as he condemned the latest twin explosions in Jolo, Sulu allegedly carried out by two female suicide bombers, with suspected links to Abu Sayyaf bomber Mundi Sawadjaan, nephew of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader and Islamic State (ISIS) head in the country, Hajan Sawadjaan.

“Nakalulungkot isipin na sa kabila ng paghihirap at pasakit na nararanasan ng ating bansa at mamamayan dulot ng COVID-19 pandemic, nakuha pang isagawa ang karumaldumal na krimen na ito sa Jolo (It’s unfortunate that amid the suffering our nation and our people are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they had the gall to carry out such gruesome crime in Jolo),” Dela Rosa said in his speech.

“Tunay nga na ang mga terorista ay hindi pipili ng panahon at lugar kung saan maghasik ng lagim. Ito na po yung kasagutan sa mga bumabatikos sa timing ng pagsabatas ng Anti-Terrorism Law (Terrorists really do not choose any time or place where they should wreak havoc. This Anti-Terrorism Law is the answer to those who are criticizing the timing of its passage),” the head of the Senate committee on public order said.

Dela Rosa said the law, which has just been enacted last month primarily, seeks to prevent, prohibit and penalize terrorism in the country.

“Despite its noble intention, many individuals and groups have raised their frantic concerns on their conceived and imagined abuses that may possibly be committed by the government in implementing this measure,” the former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief said.

“This is also a challenge to all human rights advocates to condemn this terroristic attack, and focus, not just on the ill actions done by a few members of the military and the police, but also the sufferings and sacrifices of the majority of these men for their countrymen,” he said.

“The members of the military and the police force are also victims of human rights abuses in the face of terrorism. They, too, deserve your attention and assistance.”

Dela Rosa also urged the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to consider the law in the viewpoint of the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the PNP.

“We have had enough of your excuses that your mandate is focused more on the human rights of the non-state actors such as the terrorist Abu Sayyaf and CPP-NPA and not the state actors – AFP and PNP. How about the human rights of their grieving families? They are non-state actors, I suppose,” he pointed out.

“No amount of bravery and gallantry will ease the excruciating pain of the grieving families of these officers who sacrificed their lives to protect the communities and people that they have served,” the senator added.

“The lesson of the recent Jolo bombing rings loud and clear: terrorism is real and it is in our midst,” Dela Rosa reiterated.