GMA CONDEMNED TERRORIST ATTACK IN JOLO

MALACANANG,
March 29, 2006 (OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY) PGMA asks Congress anew to speed up passage of anti-terror bill.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo condemned today "in the strongest terms" the terrorist attack in Jolo, Sulu on Monday which killed nine persons and left 20 others, including a seven-year-old girl, wounded.

In a statement this morning, the President also directed the armed forces and police to leave "no stone unturned in the hunt for the perpetrators and I ask our people to remain calm."

She said that security measures have been put in place to contain the terrorist threat and "prevent its resurgence anywhere" in the country as she expressed her sympathies to the families of the victims.

The President also directed the government health authorities to act immediately and treat wounded survivors of the blast.

"Terror never sleeps and we need to consistently carry out our comprehensive action plan to rid our country and the world of this grave threat," she added.

In the wake of the latest terrorist attack, the President prodded Congress anew to pass the proposed Anti-Terrorism Law to give law enforcement agencies "teeth" to effectively combat terrorism. The measure defines certain acts that would constitute terrorism such as indiscriminate acts against civilians and property, kidnapping, hijacking and launching electronic attacks through computers.

It also outlaws illegal manufacturing or selling of chemicals and biological, radiological or nuclear agents that can be used as weapons of mass destruction.

"Once more and with a deep sense of urgency, I ask Congress to pass the anti-terrorism law that will enable our nation to constrict, contain and control this threat more effectively," the President said.

The bomb ripped through the ground floor of a two-storey commercial establishment along Serrantes street in downtown Jolo at around 1:15 Monday afternoon in what many have surmised to be the handiwork of Abu Sayyaf bandits.

Statement of the President Re Sulu attack

I condemn in the strongest terms this most recent attack in Sulu. The Armed Forces and Police shall leave no stone unturned in the hunt for the perpetrators and I ask our people to remain calm and vigilant.

Meanwhile, firm security measures are in place to contain the threat of terror and prevent its resurgence anywhere in the land.

I sympathize with the families of the victims and direct that the treatment of the wounded be given priority by our health services.

Indeed, terror never sleeps and we need to consistently carry out our comprehensive action plan to rid our country and the world of this grave threat.

Once more, and with a deep sense of urgency, I ask Congress to pass the anti-terrorism law that will enable our nation to constrict, contain and control this threat more effectively.

Statement of Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye Re People's initiative

The Palace has allowed the democratic process to run its course without any interference and we are glad that the people are responding to the call for transformation and change.

Charges of fraud and manipulation in the sign-up drive are unfounded and farfetched.

Instead of continuing the destructive politicking on the issue of people’s initiative, we suggest that our politicians let the process roll on to its natural course and let the people decide if indeed there is popular support for substantive changes in our Constitution. Our democratic system allows such a process to continue, and to demean the exercise of the right of the people to seek direct amendments to our Basic Law through the usual insinuations only reflects insecurity on the part of the accusers.

Statement of Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye Re NAIA 3

An investigation is ongoing and let us not speculate on the NAIA 3 incident, which is a temporary setback to our plans. We want to open the facility to serve the public at the soonest possible time, on the condition that all structures and facilities are secure and devoid of any hazards to the public. The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is on top of the situation.

Statement of Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye Re Peace talks

The President is committed to an honorable and peaceable settlement of the decades-long separatist problem in Mindanao in line with the constitutional provisions of territorial integrity and respect for cultural diversity.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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