Philippines Counter-Terrorism Training: Evidence-based, intelligence-led, working together

Manila (the Philippines), 1 May 2012
- The Philippine Government, led by the Anti-Terrorism Council Program Management Center (ATC-PMC) and supported by UNODC, took the first practical steps towards creating a highly focused training program to combat terrorism that is evidence-based and intelligence-led, and that emphasizes joint training for law enforcement, security and prosecution officials.

"Our counter-terrorism program must be anchored on reliable intelligence," noted Under-Secretary Nabil A. Tan, Executive Director of the ATC-PMC. "The law enforcement and prosecution pillars of our criminal justice system must be properly equipped to respond to an eventual terrorist incident - to investigate, gather evidence and bring the perpetrators to justice."

Meeting at the "National Experts Workshop on Designing Training for Collaborative Investigation and Prosecution of Terrorism-Related Cases", held in Manila 21-23 March, local and international experts and Philippine officials elaborated the substantive content for training course material development.

They also agreed to key selection criteria to develop a pool of national trainers and to the guideposts to assess the quality and impact of training for these priority themes: intelligence gathering and analysis, investigation, and prosecution, particularly communicating with investigators and evaluating evidence.

"Prosecutors, law enforcement officials and security personnel should all work together, in close coordination and collaboration throughout the case build-up - from case inception through prosecution - to successfully prosecute terrorist cases," said Philippines Prosecutor-General Mr. Claro Arellano at the workshop.

Participating in the workshop were 43 officials and experts representing national stakeholder entities from law enforcement, the security sector and prosecution. The Workshop constituted an important step for implementing a Philippines Counter-Terrorism Training Initiative on "Capacity Building for Collaborative Investigation and Prosecution of Terrorism-Related Cases".

This Training Initiative, a joint undertaking of ATC-PMC and UNODC, seeks to achieve:

As the next step, national experts and external resource persons will work together to compile and write up the training course material, fully tailored to the Philippines situation and drawing on existing national resource material.

UNODC has been involved in supporting counter-terrorism efforts of the countries in Southeast Asia since 2003. In 2011, in consultation with the concerned countries and other stake-holders, UNODC initiated the CT partnership programme "East and Southeast Asia Partnership on Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism". Its objective is to support the countries in their efforts to "achieve preparedness against terrorism and implement rule of law-based CT measures".

The Partnership is being implemented through country-specific programmes of activities. The Philippines, Indonesia and Lao PDR have finalized country programmes and have advanced in their implementation. Vietnam is in the final stage of endorsing its country programme and Cambodia has progressed in formulating a country programme.

Implementation of activities under the "East and Southeast Asia Partnership on Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism" is made possible by the generous funding support of several donors of UNODC, especially the United States of America and New Zealand.