AUSTRALIA LAUDS PHILIPPINES FOR PASSING ANTI-TERROR BILL
The Australian Government welcomed the signing into law of the landmark anti-terrorism bill, otherwise known as the Human Security Act, by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at a ceremony in Malacanang today.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer MP noted that the legislation would strengthen the legal regime for investigating, prosecuting and bringing to justice terrorists and their supporters who are captured in the Philippines. Mr Downer noted that the passage of the Human Security Act was further evidence of the commitment being demonstrated by the Government of the Philippines to implement comprehensive counter-terrorism measures.
In Manila, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines HE Tony Hely hailed the signing as timely, given the intensified efforts of countries in the Asia-Pacific region to stamp out terrorism and related security threats. Ambassador Hely noted that the Philippines is a key regional counter-terrorism partner for Australia. "Australia and the Philippines continue to work together to strengthen counter-terrorism capacity, both under a bilateral assistance package worth A$10 million (approximately PhP37 million), and through our regional assistance packages worth more than A$400 million (PhP14.8 billion) since 2004.
Australia has a longstanding commitment to the security and stability of ASEAN countries. It has 13 counter-terrorism MOUs in the region with key partners including the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Brunei Darussalam.