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Bato wants ATL ‘loopholes’ plugged vs NPA recruiters

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

December 04, 2023

Senator Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa is keen on revisiting the Anti-Terrorism Law (ATL) of 2020 to plug in possible loopholes against radicalization and recruitment in schools targeted by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

With this, Dela Rosa urged the Anti-Terrorism Council-Project Management Center (ATC-PMC) to meticulously go over the law’s provisions and propose amendments if necessary

that will incorporate radicalization and recruitment with corresponding harsh penalties against recruiters.

“With that, I hope you can give us a proposal para i-amend natin yung ATL. Please kayo from ATC, gawa kayo ng proposal para madagdag natin ito,” dela Rosa told ATC representatives during last week’s hearing by the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs the senator himself chairs.

During the hearing, Dela Rosa was infuriated by revelations of former NPA rebels who accused members of the ‘Makabayan bloc” in Congress like Kabataan party-list Representative Raoul Manuel for their direct and active involvement in NPA recruitment.

He substantiated this with the case of Jethro Isaac, a former student from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) in Laguna, who perished recently during a military encounter against the NPA in Gloria, Oriental Mindoro.

Addressing the senator’s query, lawyer Ser-Me Ayuyao admitted that based on their monitoring and evaluation of filed terrorism-related cases there was no case about radicalization and recruitment.

“One of the tasks given to us by the ATC is to conduct a monitoring and evaluation of all terrorism and terrorism-related cases. Because of our monitoring, we established our database and we observed na until today na walang nakakasuhan na recruitment,” Ayuyao said.

Ayuyao revealed that during their field engagements, particularly in various caravans, the Council delved into the issue of recruitment, acknowledging the absence of legal actions against recruiters.

Despite recognizing the sinister nature of recruiters, he pointed out the complexity of prosecuting them, attributing the challenge to the sequence of radicalization and subsequent recruitment.

“Now, we conducted several caravans in the field where this is one of the issues that we discussed. But, ang issue is walang nakakasuhan na recruiter”, Ayuyao said.

According to him, the process of recruitment typically follows the radicalization phase, making it intricate to prosecute recruiters promptly.

“Kasi kung kare-recruit niya, definitely, idedeny niya ‘yan. It’s very hard to prosecute recruitment”, he said.

They stressed that without the recruit's voluntary revelation after their indoctrination, prosecuting recruiters remains exceedingly challenging.

“Ang scenario lang na puwede makasuhan sa recuitment tulad ng sinabi nga namin ay kung nagbalik-loob ito at mag-reveal. That is the time where we can charge for recruitment”, Ayuyao said.

Additionally, the Council emphasized the prevalence of radicalization, often infiltrating public spaces and private settings, indicating its pervasive nature compared to the secretive recruitment process. ###


Ref: Joel M. Sy Egco



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