Mayor calls on Senate to pass anti-terror bill
- Evelyn Macairan () - October 21, 2006 - 12:00am
Manila City Mayor Lito Atienza called on the Senate yesterday to stop their political bickering and immediately pass the anti-terrorism bill (ATB), citing the continuing threat of terrorism in the country.

Atienza, guest at the Newsstand Forum, said the Senate continues "to endanger the lives of the Filipinos by prolonging the passage of the bill."

"The continuing threat of terrorism is here, kapag nadali tayo ng terrorism, talo tayong lahat. We are deluding ourselves into believing that we will be spared from this. It is very, very clear that the Philippines, Manila, for that matter, is in clear danger of terrorist acts," he said.

The Senate adjourned last weekend for a three-week Halloween break without approving the ATB. Some senators had blocked the bill’s passage for fear of compromising the rights of the people.

The country has fallen prey to several terrorist attacks and even became the training ground for the international terrorist group Jemaah Islamiah. Indonesian bomb-makers wanted for the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, are reported to have been given sanctuary by Khadaffy Janjalani of the Abu Sayyaf Group.

Atienza recalled that during the Dec. 30, 2000 "Rizal Day Bombing," explosives were planted on board a coach of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) at a station in Manila while another bomb went off at Plaza Fergusson, which is just across the US Embassy.

"Why is the Senate playing too much politics on this issue? If they have any misgivings or if they have any amendments, why don’t they discuss it now as responsible lawmakers on the floor and hurry up on the job," the mayor said.

He said that the Philippines is lagging behind other Asian countries in implementing laws that would combat terrorists.

Just recently, the United States government passed its own bill against terrorism.

"We are foot-dragging on this issue," he said.

Security laws are now outdated and need to be strengthened to eliminate all types of threats.

He added that Philippines is set to host a series of major international events, which require adequate security preparations that an Anti-Terror Bill enacted into law will enhance.

"Surely, we do not want to create a very wrong perception that we coddle terrorists," he said.

ANTI-TERROR BILL ATIENZA JEMAAH ISLAMIAH KHADAFFY JANJALANI OF THE ABU SAYYAF GROUP LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT MANILA CITY MAYOR LITO ATIENZA NEWSSTAND FORUM PLAZA FERGUSSON RIZAL DAY BOMBING UNITED STATES
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