The proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 will allow the government to cut sources of financial and logistical support for communist terrorist groups, Philippine Army (PA) commander, Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay said Wednesday.
“It would enable us because you know they (communist terrorist groups) are still espousing armed violence to bring about change in our society, in our country. And of course, in doing so, they need support, they need finance and logistics support from other sectors so this bill would also enable us to cut that umbilical cord so that it could, and we could prevent and hopefully, finally end this communist insurgency,” Gapay said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
Section 25 of the bill mandates that the proposed Anti-Terrorism Council “shall automatically adopt the United Nations Security Council Consolidated List of designated individuals, groups of persons, organizations, or associations designated and/or identified as a terrorist, one who finances terrorism, or a terrorist organization or group”.
Gapay added that the New People’s Army (NPA) is well within the definition of terrorism in the proposed measure as they have killed civilians and uniformed personnel using treachery, and violence.
“They have killed innocent civilians, even us in the security sector employing treachery, you know, ambushes and using IEDs (improvised explosive devices), they (also) have bombs, and I don’t think with that they are no different (with the) other terrorists, so they are included because they are well within the definition of what terrorism means, who terrorists are in this new anti-terror bill,” he added.
Under the bill, terrorism is committed when a person commits acts intended to cause death or injury to any person or endangers a person’s life, engages in acts intended to cause extensive damage or destruction to a government facility, public place or private property and critical infrastructure among others.
Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief-of-staff, Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. said the measure is not targeting any specific group.
“The proposed law is not targeting any specific organization, group, or individual. But if any of them commits an act or acts which are included in the definition of Terrorism, then they will be prosecuted and penalized under the proposed law,” Santos said in a statement.
The NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United Kingdom, the European Union, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines. PNA.GOV.PH