LOOK INTO TER­ROR­ISTS’ FI­NANC­ING

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - LETTERS - ADELAIDA CABADDU, acabaddu@out­look.com

Please al­low me to give my two cents’ worth on the mat­ter of coun­ter­ing ter­ror­ism in the Philip­pines. I be­lieve that ad­dress­ing ter­ror­ism, in­clud­ing other acts in­volv­ing vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism and re­bel­lion, is not just a mat­ter of mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions and pros­e­cu­tion of per­pe­tra­tors un­der the Hu­man Se­cu­rity Act of 2007. It is also about look­ing into fi­nanc­ing as a vi­tal as­pect of a good case man­age­ment frame­work.

While amend­ments to broaden the cov­er­age and ap­pli­ca­tion of the Hu­man Se­cu­rity Act, as well as the in­sti­tu­tion­al­iza­tion of a na­tional ID sys­tem and SIM card regis­tra­tion, are promis­ing mea­sures to counter ter­ror­ism, the de­fense sec­tor and the mil­i­tary should also con­sider co­op­er­a­tive or in­ter­a­gency mea­sures to im­ple­ment our ex­ist­ing an­titer­ror­ism fi­nanc­ing laws.

A ma­jor blow that could in­ca­pac­i­tate, if not erad­i­cate, any ter­ror­ist group is to cut off its life sup­port, i.e., re­sources or funds that sus­tain its un­law­ful op­er­a­tions. This would surely de­prive the very means for which these en­ti­ties are able to or­ga­nize mas­sive re­cruit­ments and pur­chase top-cal­iber weapons that en­able them to put up re­sis­tance against our mil­i­tary troops. The Philip­pines has long rec­og­nized this fact, as man­i­fested by its be­ing a state party to the In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion for the Sup­pres­sion of the Fi­nanc­ing of Ter­ror­ism and a par­tic­i­pant to other re­lated UN pro­grams and ini­tia­tives. Con­se­quently, in keep­ing with its un­der­tak­ings therein, the Philip­pines en­acted the Anti-Money Laun­der­ing Act of 2001 and the Ter­ror­ism Fi­nanc­ing Preven­tion and Sup­pres­sion Act of 2012.

Among the un­law­ful ac­tiv­i­ties cov­ered and ad­dressed un­der the Anti-Money Laun­der­ing Act of 2001, as amended, are: 1) ter­ror­ism and con­spir­acy to com­mit ter­ror­ism as de­fined and pe­nal­ized un­der Sec­tions 3 and 4 of the Hu­man Se­cu­rity Act of 2007; and 2) fi­nanc­ing of ter­ror­ism un­der Sec­tion 4 and of­fenses pun­ish­able un­der Sec­tions 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the Ter­ror­ism Fi­nanc­ing Preven­tion and Sup­pres­sion Act of 2012.

On the other hand, the Ter­ror­ism Fi­nanc­ing Preven­tion and Sup­pres­sion Act of 2012 has a pro­vi­sion on pu­n­ish­ing “fi­nanc­ing ter­ror­ism,” which per­tains to the pos­ses­sion, pro­vi­sion, col­lec­tion or uti­liza­tion of prop­erty or funds, or mak­ing avail­able prop­erty, funds, fi­nan­cial ser­vice or other re­lated ser­vices, by any per­son to carry out or fa­cil­i­tate the com­mis­sion of any ter­ror­ist act by a ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion, as­so­ci­a­tion, group, or in­di­vid­ual.

It is sub­mit­ted that by look­ing into these laws and rec­on­cil­ing them with ex­ist­ing le­gal pro­cesses and mea­sures, our de­fense sec­tor could come­up­with a more holis­tic and en­com­pass­ing ap­proach to ter­ror­ism res­o­lu­tion. It could also pave the way for new part­ner­ships and in­creased co­op­er­a­tion among bank­ing and fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, com­mu­nity stake­hold­ers, and other civil so­ci­ety or­ga­ni­za­tions.

In the face of cur­rent atroc­i­ties brought forth by ex­ist­ing and emerg­ing ter­ror­ist groups, such as the Is­lamic State-in­spired Maute group, Bangsamoro Is­lamic Free­dom Fight­ers, Abu Sayyaf, and New Peo­ple’s Army, it wouldn’t hurt for our gov­ern­ment to look at the flip­side.

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