GMA BATS FOR STRONGER ANTI-TERRORISM LAWS
MANILA, February 25, 2005 (STAR) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo called Thursday for stronger laws to enable authorities to neutralize terrorists before they can strike and inflict harm on their targets.
"The perimeters of vigilance must be strengthened by stronger laws to identify, pinpoint, and expose terrorists and to enable authorities to neutralize terrorist conspiracies before they can strike," she said.
The President stressed that the government’s anti-terrorism campaign has been highly successful, "but it is time to bring the issue to a higher plane of pre-emptive security."
The alert against terrorism continues and more suspected terrorists are falling into the government dragnet, she added.
She cited the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) for the information that led to the arrest last Tuesday in Mandaluyong City of Abu Khalil Trinidad and Gamal Baharan.
The two were suspects in the Valentine’s Day bomb attacks in the cities of General Santos, Davao and Makati.
"Public safety is as much a component of economic progress as political stability. Our efforts to ensure national security goes hand-in-hand with the efforts designed to grow the economy and mop up the recruiting grounds of terrorists and lawless elements," she said.
Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz Jr. said charges of multiple murder, multiple frustrated murder, and illegal possession of explosives have been filed against the suspects. Murder is a non-bailable offense.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Edgardo Aglipay said they would present to the media today three suspected members of the Jemaah Islamiyah -- two Indonesians and one Malaysian.
The suspects were arrested on Dec. 14, 2004 in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi after they stepped out of a commercial ship from Sandakan, Malaysia.
Aglipay said the announcement of the arrests was held until today to enable authorities to gather more information on the activities of the suspects and undertake follow up operations against their cohorts.
"We would like to inform you that because of the intelligence fusion that the President has ordered us, not only between the PNP and the Armed Forces but also with our counterparts from foreign countries especially our ASEAN partners, we are gaining ground in neutralizing them (suspected terrorists) before they can do harm to our country," Aglipay said.
The President said the arrest of the three suspected JI members only shows that the 2001 trilateral agreement the Philippines entered with Indonesia and Malaysia is working.
The agreement has already been expanded to include other Southeast Asian countries.
GMA WELCOMES KOREAN INVESTORS (STAR)
MANILA, (STAR) President Arroyo has expressed elation over the decision of Enter Tech Corp., Korea’s leading technology developers of family entertainment systems, to put up a compact karaoke microphone factory in the country with an initial investment of $5 million.
The President thanked Enter Tech Corp. led by its president, Kyung Ho Lee, for choosing the Philippines as their next investment hub in manufacturing the famous "Magic Sing Along," the most innovative compact karaoke micrphone.
"Thank you for choosing the Philippines. The Filipinos love to sing and 90 percent of the Filipinos sing well," Mrs. Arroyo said.
The President told the Korean investors during their brief courtesy call on her at Malacañang’s Study Room that the Philippines is a very convenient location for business investments in Asia.
She said the Korean venture will be an important investment for Filipinos who really love to sing.
Lee told the President they intend to build their manufacturing plant along Chino Reyes Ave. (formerly Pasong Tamo) in Makati City. It is set to start operations wihin the year.
Enter Tech Corp., established in 1994, specializes in developing compact video karaoke systems and their components such as MIFI, transmitters, ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) and wireless microphones.
"Magic Sing Along" is the most advanced multi-media karaoke system compacted into a single microphone where both visual and audio functions of a bulky karaoke machine are built into a single microphone with interchangeable microchips.
Also present during the brief courtesy call were Ilocos Sur Rep. Eric Singson and Kun Tae Kim, vice-president of Enter Tech Phils., and Shin Wan Kim, executive vice-president.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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