The House of Representatives has approved the said bill on third reading Wednesday.
Maj. Cenon Pancito III, spokesperson of the Army’s 3ID, told the Philippine News Agency on Wednesday that the security forces in Western and Central Visayas support the developments in Congress.
“This is a new tool to fight insurgency, to promote peace and security in our area and we welcome it,” he said.
Pancito said the bill effectively repeals the Human Security Act of 2007, giving clearer guidelines to the security forces in the anti-terrorism campaign.
“It guides us in winning the war, leads to who are the terrorists, and penalizing other acts that are leading to the eventual felony or crimes,” he said, as the bill carries provisions imposing life imprisonment without parole on those who will participate in the planning, training, preparation, and facilitation of a terrorist act; possess objects connected with the preparation for the commission of terrorism; or collect or make documents connected with the preparation of terrorism.
The bill also calls for 12 years imprisonment to persons who shall threaten to commit terrorism and those who will propose any terroristic acts or incite others to commit terrorism.
“This is for the people. This will promote more of peace and order situation in our area rather than curtail the rights and the freedom of some,” he said.
Although the act of terrorism in Central and Western Visayas is low, he said the 3ID also takes part in monitoring security threats.
The insurgency problems in this part of the country, he said, are brought about by the presence of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
“Our fight against NPA has not yet ended but in terms of terrorism, we also have efforts for that. We will also counter terrorism,” he said.
Despite the current coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the 3ID said passing the bill showed that the government is also paying attention to other important matters.
“The world cannot stop because we have Covid-19. We have to move forward along with our other tasks,” he said.