PH, UN sign pact to interdict terrorist travel

Published July 14, 2021, 2:03 PM

by Roy Mabasa

The Philippines and the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signifying a mutual commitment to enhance the country’s capabilities to detect and interdict known and suspected terrorists and criminals using passenger data.

Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations Enrique Manalo Jr (L) and UN Undersecretary Vladimir Volonkov lead the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding signifying their commitment to counter terrorist travel. (DFA)

In a statement, Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN Enrique Manalo said the establishment of a strategic partnership through the MoU sets the framework for closer cooperation and regular consultations among Philippine and UN authorities, placing the country in a better position to contribute to the global effort to counter terrorist travel.

The virtual MoU signing was concluded as part of the United Nations Countering Terrorist Travel (CT Travel) Program on July 7. 2021.

UN Undersecretary-General Vladimir Voronkov, who signed on behalf of the international body, said the MoU is a symbol of the solid partnership and mutual commitment between the Philippines and the UN’s Office of Counter-Terrorism

“Critically, this will assist the Philippines to identify and address ever-evolving terrorist threats within both the air and maritime environments,” the UN official said.

The CT Travel Program aims to assist UN member states to enhance their detection capabilities against terrorists and serious criminals using travel information, information exchange, and international databases in accordance with Security Council Resolutions 2178, 2396, and 2482.

The program is co-funded by contributions from Australia, the European Union, Japan, Netherlands, United States, Qatar and India.

Among the Philippine officials who virtually witnessed the signing ceremony were National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr, United Nations officials, Justice Undersecretary Adrian Ferdinand Sugay, Interior and Local Governments Undersecretary Bernardo Florece, Jr., Information and Communications Undersecretary Alan Silor, Transportation Undersecretary Raul Del Rosario, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente and Florentino Manalastas, Jr. of the Anti-Terrorism Council – Program Management Center.

European Union Chargés d’affaires Rafael de Bustamante, Australian Embassy Chargés d’affaires Richard Sisson and UN Resident Coordinator to the Philippines Gustavo Gonzales delivered their respective remarks during the event.