Last Wednesday’s capture of suspected top Abu Sayyaf official Khair Mundos (a.k.a. Abu Ayman) highlighted the Philippines’ report before the United Nations in New York on June 12, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Saturday.

DFA Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Affairs Rafael Seguis also reaffirmed the country’s support for the global fight against terrorism before the UN General Assembly.

Seguis, who delivered the Philippine statement at the Fourth Biennial Review of the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy, also promoted sports as a way to curb terrorism.

“In fact, sports has also been a tool, like the annual Football for Peace, which brings children from selected conflict areas to Manila, not only for sports clinics, but also to transform their outlooks in life from a ‘culture of violence’ to that of a ‘a culture of peace,” Seguis said on the DFA website.

“We must remain even more vigilant. The fight against terrorism should only unite us in the spirit of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,” he added.

On Wednesday, the Philippine National Police claimed it had arrested Mundos, whom it described as a “top ranking” Abu Sayyaf official.

Seguis also said the Philippines has had success in fulfilling the objectives of the Four Pillars of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which are:

  • Addressing the conditions that give rise to terrorism
  • Preventing and combating terrorism
  • Building state capacity to effectively address terrorism
  • Ensuring respect for human rights and the rule of law in counter-terrorism initiatives

He emphasized the recent signing of the Philippines-Indonesia Memorandum of Understanding on Combating International Terrorism, and the partnership with the International Center for Counter Terrorism (ICCT), which developed a National Operation Framework on Counter Radicalization and De-Radicalization (CR/DR).

Also, he said the Philippines is the site of the Regional headquarters of the Chemical-Biological-Radiological-Nuclear Center of Excellence (CBRN CoE) in Southeast Asia, a joint undertaking with the European Union and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).

Meanwhile, Seguis, in mentioning the ASEAN Convention on Counter-Terrorism, stressed that while the Philippines “builds an effective criminal justice system by providing more legal tools for law enforcement and judicial authorities to fight terrorism… (it) also respects, protects and uphold the rule of law, particularly civil liberties and human rights, with the latter being the cornerstone of Pillar IV of the UNGCTS.” Joel Locsin/JDS, GMA News

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