Alarm sounded on possible escalation of terror attacks
MANILA, Philippines – Philippine security forces are fearing a possible “chilling escalation in tactics, damage and barbarity” of terrorists after the reported collapse of the ISIS / Daesh in Syria and Iraq.
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. sounded the alarm during Tuesday’s joint hearing of the Senate committees on national defense and finance on the proposed amendments to the Human Security Act (HSA).
In less than a year, Esperon noted that there had already been three suicide bombings in Mindanao – two in Sulu and one in Basilan.
“Further intelligence sources have reported that due to the collapse of the Daesh in Syria and Iraq, terrorist fighters have been returning to their countries of origin to continue their reign of terror,” he said in his opening statement.
“These events alarm us to a chilling escalation in tactics, damage and barbarity that terrorist groups are willing to engage just to further their extremist agenda,” said Esperon.
“Evolving strategists by these terrorist groups demand that we in the security sector should be able to adjust and take the initiative in order to effectively counteract these terrorist groups,” Esperon added.
He, however, noted that the existing HSA contains “loopholes and obstacles,” which he said have prevented security forces “from establishing deterrence through effective criminal prosecution against suspected terrorists.”
Despite this, Esperon informed the committee members that the Anti-Terrorism Council has already adopted the National Action Plan to prevent and counter violent extremism.
This, he said, will cover the six vulnerable sectors – the community, social media, schools and madrasahs, religious leaders, overseas Filipino workers and religious scholars, and persons in jails and prisons.
“These are sources of future terrorists,” Esperon pointed out. /gsg
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