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UNODC facilitates training course to strengthen collaborative investigation and prosecution of terrorism-related cases in The Philippines

Cagayan de Oro (The Philippines), 11 December 2014
- In partnership with the Philippine Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC), UNODC facilitated a "Training Course on Collaborative Intelligence, Investigation and Prosecution of Terrorism-Related Cases" in Cagayan de Oro City, Mindanao, from 24 to 28 November 2014. Thirty experienced officials from different agencies responsible for counter-terrorism including the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, the Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Armed Forces of Philippines, the Anti-Money Laundering Council and the Department of Justice, participated in the training.

The course -which was part of the UNODC-ATC long-term partnership to strengthen the Philippines' criminal justice response to terrorism- was carried out in the framework of the European Union-UNODC Joint Initiative for Supporting Southeast Asian Countries to Counter Terrorism. Under this collaborative training programme, all counter-terrorism agencies were brought together, under the ATC auspices, to jointly elaborate the curriculum and training programme for law enforcement and judicial officials who directly handle terrorism-related cases. The training manuals, which are in line with the Philippines' counter-terrorism policy, also incorporate the UN relevant CT frameworks including on human rights and the rule of law.

To ensure full ownership and sustainability of the training programme all participating agencies nominated officials who were trained in 2012 in order to be equipped with professional training skills. Since 2013, a roster of sixteen national trainers have delivered four roll-out courses to more than 120 officials in Manila, Tagaytay, Davao and Cagayan de Oro.

Throughout the recent five-day workshop in Cagayan de Oro City, participants deepened their knowledge on terrorist threats and effective implementation of counter-terrorism laws, while gaining insights on other agencies' work. The interactive discussions combined with group exercise enabled them to identify areas for further enhancement in their collaboration, particularly on how to better share information and to effectively gather and present admissible evidence in court.

According to a prosecutor of Iligan City of Mindanao, "For prosecutors, our work relies on intelligence and investigation officers. I have learned so much about how they operate and see more ways to strengthen our collaboration. The training makes us realize how much our success depends on one another".

An intelligence officer from Cagayan de Oro City Police added that "This activity helps me get out of my field to understand prosecutors better. I see that if we work hand in hand our information would have better value and increase a chance of successful prosecution".