AMBASSADOR ROD SMITH - Handover of vehicles and equipment to National Bureau of Investigation for use by the Anti Terrorism Division on behalf of the Australian Federal Police on Thursday 22 May 2008.
• Director Mantaring, Deputy Director Asis, other officials of the NBI, Ladies and Gentlemen.
• Allow me to begin by congratulating you, Director Mantaring, on your leadership of the NBI and on the significant contribution you have made – and the NBI has made – to law enforcement in the Philippines.
• In recent years Philippine authorities have had significant successes in combating terrorism. Regrettably, extremist groups in Southeast Asia continue to pose a threat to our security – to the security of our region, our countries, our communities and our families.
• And like all transnational crime, terrorism must be tackled not only through determined effort by law enforcement authorities at the national level, but also through international cooperation.
• This ceremony today is a small practical example of that cooperation.
• It is part of a multi-million dollar project managed by the Australian Federal Police (our AFP) to help the law enforcement authorities in the Philippines develop capabilities in critical areas like intelligence sharing, bomb investigation techniques, forensics and other skills particularly relevant to the fight against terrorism.
• This in turn is part of Australia’s wider efforts working with law enforcement agencies in our region and worldwide against terrorism and other transnational crime.
• In the Philippines, the Australian Government last year concluded a 3yr $3.69M (PHP 150m) project funded by the Australian Federal Police and our aid agency Ausaid, which delivered outcomes in the:
o establishment of technical and surveillance capabilities;
o establishment of a comprehensive computer system for investigations such as those involving Counter Terrorism; and
o strengthening of intelligence and investigations capabilities.
• In August last year AFP launched a further a 2yr $2.6M (PHP 104m) project which is to build on the outcomes of the previous 3yr project. This funding will assist Law Enforcement Agencies with their continued fight against terrorism.
• I am particularly pleased to note the close cooperation that exists between the Australian Federal Police and the National Bureau of Investigation. The Anti-Terrorism Division (ATD) cooperates closely and productively with the AFP’s Manila Regional Cooperation Team (MRCT) through intelligence sharing.
• The vehicles we are contributing today are intended to support the NBI in a practical way, underpinning the work that we are doing through intelligence sharing and other policing cooperation. They will provide flexibility and mobility to your operations, obviously a fundamental capacity for law enforcement.
• I understand one of the vehicles will be used as a bomb Response vehicle. I have to say, Director, that I hope this vehicle will need to be used very little other than for training.
• Australia is pleased to be able to contribute to the work of the NBI in this way. We hope that these vehicles will assist you in a direct and practical way to discharge your critical responsibilities for combating terrorism and providing for the security of your communities.
Vehicles obtained are:
1 x Camry Sedan
2 x Corolla Altis Sedans
2 x Innova wagons
1x Honda XR250 motorcycle
2 x Honda Wave 125 motorcycles
6 x Hewlett Packard Laptops.
Support provided is worth 5,300,000Php (approximately AUD$136,000)