Palace renews commitment to fight terrorism PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 23 November 2014 14:54

Following the release of the Global and Terrorism Index that ranked the Philippines at ninth place, Malacañang said it remains committed to preventing violence and terrorism.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said during Friday’s press briefing that they have seen the report but want to know the details, so that the government could improve the country’s ranking.

“We are trying to see what incidents have been counted, kasi nakita natin ang difference from the incidents in 2011, 2012, 2013 and ‘yung most recent year,” Valte said.

“We’d like to see what those incidents are and compare them with the data that our law enforcement agencies have. But certainly, everyone is unified in the goal that we want to lessen these incidents.”

In a study conducted by the London-based Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), the Philippines ranked ninth out of 162 countries in terms of the level of terrorist activities in the world in 2013.

The Global Terrorism Index 2014 showed 499 incidents in the Philippines, resulting in 292 fatalities, 444 injuries, and 184 damage to property.

The index ranks countries according to the impact of terrorist activities as well as analyzes the economic and social dimensions associated with terrorism.

Valte noted that President Aquino himself has recently been tackling the issue on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The Philippines, she said, is also coordinating and cooperating with neighbors to thwart ISIS recruitment in the country.

“In fact, yesterday, we were asked about some information that a Filipino was involved in the beheading of some Syrians in the most recent ISIS video. The military is endeavoring to check the veracity of that particular video. But, so far, we still do not have any confirmation on the nationality of that person,” she said.

Asked if the activities of the New People’s Army could have contributed to the Philippines ranking high in the terrorism index, Valte said security forces are conducting operations against the group while the government is working to verify if atrocities committed by the NPA were considered by those who made the study.

“But certainly, at the end of the day, our goal really is to lessen these incidents because we are looking at the safety of the people,” she said.

Valte further said that the administration continues to encourage the rebels to return to the negotiating table.

“I would defer to (Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process) Secretary Ging Deles to tell you more about those efforts as they can disclose at particular times. But certainly, there are efforts ongoing,” she said.