FOR the rest of this month, we shall remember the successive terrorist attacks that have claimed the lives of many of our fellow citizens and that our country can never forget. On January 25, 2015, 44 members of the Special Action Force died during the execution of counterterrorism operations. On January 27, two years ago, Jolo Cathedral was bombed and in late January of the same year, the Zamboanga mosque was also bombed.
There is no question that we ranked 9th in the 2019 Global Terrorism Index. This indicates that the terrorist situation in the country is real and getting worse.
It is extremely alarming that in 2019, two Filipino men involved in a suicide bombing attack occurred outside a military camp in Sulu and according to the military, they were the first Filipino suicide bombers, and this simply proves and indicates that the threats of terrorism in the country is legitimate.
These are some of the works of organizations associated with international terrorists. If we will include in the list the atrocities of the CPP-NPA, how long is that going to take? These are all parts of the country's bitter history that we do not want to be happening again.
We are victims of terrorism and it is about time that the country had to prove its potential and its authority to combat terrorism and I believe that it is the purpose of the Anti-Terrorism Law. None of us can take advantage of terrorism and violence, therefore strengthening our counterterrorism efforts is reasonable and the Anti-Terrorism Law will be a strong measure.
Some groups and individuals have expressed criticism of the said law and have tabled 37 petitions to challenge the legality of the ATL. So, the arguments will take place on February 2, but what about the people who recognize the importance of the legislation? The government may not simply leave them, that is why, the oral arguments must serve as an opportunity to dismiss the doubts of the critics that will lead to a comprehensive understanding from both sides and finally come up into a conclusion that this law will be effective in responding to the threat of terrorism and at the same time promotes the protection of human rights.
As ordinary citizens, we cannot just sit back and relax while watching our country crumble at the hands of the terrorists. We can also curb terrorism by giving our support and trust that the implementation of this law will attain its objective, but most importantly, we need to unite together as a nation to pursue peace. (Gab Daguio)