by H.E. Enrique A. Manalo
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
We appreciate the leadership of Tunisia in organizing this important Open Debate on international cooperation in combating terrorism 20 years after the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1373. We thank Under-Secretary General Vladimir Voronkov and Assistant Secretary General Michèle Coninsx for briefing the Council.
The Philippines has been a strong supporter of resolution 1373, which established the basis of the Security Council’s response in countering terrorist threats. Resolution 1373 also established the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) as a subsidiary body of the Council to assess Member States’ compliance with the resolution’s provisions.
As a contribution to the implementation of resolution 1373, soon after its adoption in 2001, the Philippines hosted in November 2002 the International Conference on Terrorism and Tourism Recovery in the wake of the Bali Terrorist Bombing. The Conference issued the “Makati Accord of 2002,” which embodied the strong resolve of all the participating countries to intensify efforts to fight the international terrorist threat.
Terrorism remains to this day a serious threat to the Philippines and to many countries. Terrorist groups – such as the Abu Sayyaf –- continue to conduct many attacks. Online recruitment has increased. The Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), collectively known as the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG), has remained engaged in illegal operations despite the onslaught of COVID-19. They have perpetrated armed attacks and illegal activities against the government. Our resources are stretched because of the pandemic, but we remain vigilant.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has intensified the government’s efforts to deter terrorist fighters, while also addressing the root causes of violent extremism and radicalization. The Philippine government has continued to support collective efforts to combat terrorism and transnational crimes, and has cooperated closely with the Counter-Terrorism Committee through its Executive Directorate (CTED).
The Marawi siege, where foreign terrorist fighters took part, taught us that an effective legal framework is crucial. In response to the recommendations of CTED and the UNOCT, we have strengthened our legal and criminal justice framework with the enactment of the 2020 Anti-Terrorism Law. It shores up the legal framework by finally allowing us to prosecute FTFs and acts of terrorism. In its implementation, it mandates the State to uphold the basic rights and fundamental liberties of the people as enshrined in the Constitution. Its enactment was done pursuant to our commitment and strict adherence to the relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolutions 1373 and 2178, and to the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (GCTS).
Our cooperative relationship with the Committee has been robust. We appreciate the second follow-up visit to the Philippines conducted by CTED on behalf of the Committee in October 2019. We take seriously the Committee’s recommendations and look forward to their implementation. We are also pleased with the Joint High-Level Visit to Manila in March 2020, just before the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, by Under-Secretary-General Voronkov and Assistant-Secretary-General Coninsx.
The deep dive assessment visit of the Countering Terrorist Travel Programme was also productive. Our agencies continue to study the Roadmap and review the proposed Memorandum of Understanding provided on the Countering Terrorist Travel Programme so that we can respond to the recommendations provided there.
Sustained capacity-building continues to be one of our priorities, and we expect that CTED’s follow-up visit will help in the design and provision of capacity-building programs that address our challenges, including for the implementation of our nascent National Action Plan on Countering and Preventing Violent Extremism.
As we commemorate 20 years of the adoption of resolution 1373 that aims to fortify international cooperation in combating terrorism, the Philippines reiterates its strong support for the indispensable work of the Counter-Terrorism Committee and for sustaining the momentum of recent exchanges to further increase our level of engagement.
Thank you, Mr. President.