Southeast Asia’s 1st Counterterrorism Center to Rise in Philippines
The country’s first-ever counter-terrorism training center is set to be constructed in Cavite before the end of 2019.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Oscar Albayalde and US Ambassador Sung Kim led the groundbreaking ceremony of the planned regional counter-terrorism training center at Camp General Mariano Castaneda in Silang town on Friday.
Albayalde said the planned state-of-the-art training center would also be the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, Manila Bulletin.
The US Embassy said the training center will be an avenue “to provide counter-terrorism training for law enforcement units and personnel from the Philippines and regional partner nations in Southeast Asia.”
Albayalde emphasized the importance of building the facility as the Philippines faces a number of evolving security threats, especially with the emergence of suicide bombers in the country.
Albayalde also said the PNP is grateful to the US government for allotting a total of P520 million to establish and jointly operate the center, which is designed to boost counterterrorism capabilities of police forces in the Asia Pacific region.
Some P350 million of the US allocation is for the main facility, while the balance would be for maintenance and operations.
According to Inquirer, on August 15, the PNP and the US Embassy signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the training center in the Philippines, which is set to be completed by the end of 2021.
Kim described the training facility as a “very special accomplishment” for the US government and the PNP.
The ambassador said being the only one in the Pacific region, the training center would show the Philippines’ “regional leadership” in the fight against terror.
The project, according to Kim, “reflects the enduring US commitment to support the Philippines’ counterterrorism efforts.”