MANILA – The deadly bombings in Jolo, Sulu that killed at least 14 persons and injured 75 others only prove that terrorism is real, Senator Ronald dela Rosa said Tuesday.
“Tunay nga na ang mga terorista any hindi pipili ng panahon at lugar kung saan maghasik ng lagim. (It is really true that terrorist will not choose time or place to sow terror),” dela Rosa said in a privilege speech.
Dela Rosa, chair of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, said the terror attack is also the answer to those criticizing the timing of the passage of the Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
He said the law, which President Rodrigo Duterte signed on July 3 is a piece of legislation that seeks to prevent, prohibit and penalize terrorism in the country.
But despite its noble intentions, he said 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 the measure.
“But to the critics, I dare ask this question: with the recent Jolo bombing, have you not realized that terrorism is indeed in our midst with its clear, imminent and present danger ready to devour anyone in its path?” dela Rosa said.
The Jolo bombings also serve as challenge to all human rights advocates, including the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), to condemn the terroristic attacks and focus not just on the ill actions done by just a few members of the military and the police, but also the sufferings and sacrifices of the majority of uniformed personnel for their countrymen, the former chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said.
He said like everybody else, members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the PNP are also victims of human rights abuses in the face of terrorism and deserve their attention and assistance.
“To the CHR, 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 the CPP-NPA, and not the state actors, AFP and PNP,” he said. “The lesson of the recent Jolo bombing rings loud and clear: terrorism is real and it is in our midst. Let us all join forces in fighting this evil with strong determination and courage to clip its roots and throw it into the dungeons of hell.”
Senator Cristopher “Bong” Go echoed dela Rosa’s sentiments as he condemned anew, “in the strongest possible terms,” the terrorist bombings in Jolo.
“Habang abala ang gobyerno sa pagresponde sa krisis dulot ng Covid-19, napili pa talaga ng mga teroristang ito na ngayon maghasik ng gulo (While the government is occupied in responding to the Covid-19 crisis, these terrorists really chose the moment to sow terror),” he said in a manifestation speech.
Go said Duterte has also been doing his best to achieve just and long-lasting peace in Mindanao since the beginning of his term, and yet there are still terrorists who continue to put the lives of Filipinos in mortal danger.
He reiterated his call on all agencies of government to ensure that those responsible to these “acts of terrorism” are held accountable for their actions.
“We have already passed the Anti-Terrorism Law and I urge the government to properly enforce the law within its bounds against those who break it and stop terrorism at its roots,” Go said.
Senator Panfilo Lacson also called for the implementation of the Anti-terrorism Law in order for security forces to better address terrorism in Mindanao and the rest of the country.
However, he noted that amidst the numerous petitions against the measure, the agencies tasked to craft the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the law have “unfortunately” not yet issued the same.
He said the needed IRR could have given law enforcement agencies and the AFP the impetus to fully implement the law with efficacy and confidence, and proactively as the law also penalizes “inchoate offenses,” or even at the stages of preparation and planning.
“With all that said, I would like to repeat what I told the critics who questioned the timing of the passage of the anti-terror law in the middle of a pandemic: terrorism knows no timing nor borders,” Lacson said. (PNA)