Maanne Ilagan Lopez
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AFP forum fails to answer HSA queries

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AFP forum fails to answer HSA queries

“A Forum on Anti Terror Law (ATL) or the Human Security Act (HAS) of 2007” held last August 31 at the University auditorium, which aims to resolve inquiries regarding the newly enacted law, ended witht eh students’ and faculty’s questions unanswered.

The sponsors, Christian Political Science Society (ChPPS) and the College Faculty Union, invited speakers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines who discussed about the HAS and global terrorism as a threat.

Only four queries were entertained. According to Prof. Abraham Ausan III, ChPPS adviser, “the talk was quite long” and the forum started late.

Glaiza Dimapilis, acting University Student Governemtn (USG) president, said “di kami nabigyan ng time para magtanong (we were not given enough time to ask questions).”

The caucus, scheduled from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. was not extended since the classes of the participants (some union members and their students) resumed.

“Though they (military) are encouraging us to send the questions to them tapos ibabalik din nila (which will be responded),” said Dr. Sofia Leonano, alliance president.

A part two will be planned to shed light to the unanswered questions. “But not within the semester,” Ausan cleared.

“Probably after the law has been tested.”

The ChPPS adviser said the arrival of the AFP created “tension” in the University. “We have military officials surrounding the auditorium to make sure that the guests are secured.”

Due to the abovementioned detail, Ausan added that they informed the different offices about the arrival of the AFP “because it could entail security concerns.”

However, Dr. Oscar Suarez, PCU president, relayed one problem with regards to the forum conducted.

“Hindi ko alam ang forum na ito. Nalaman ko lang on the same day nung makita ko yug mga sundalo (I was not informed about this forum. I learned about it on the same day when I saw the military people).”

The President’s original plan was for the College of Law to hold a caucus with the participation of the entire University.

Suarez furthered that other that other speakers should be invited aside from the military. “Dito kasi sa forum military pa rin… walang other side, hindi naman maaari yun (Here in the forum, it’s still the military… there’s no other side, that can’t be).”

Lt. Col. Greg Almerol, Civil Relations Service of AFP, substituted B/Gen. Nestor Sadiarin os speaker after the AFP declared a red-alert nationwide.

“His (Sadiarin) presence ay kailangan sa (is needed in the) general headquarters and secondly, he’s not feeling well.”

Almerol said they (AFP) grabbed the opportunity to have a forum at the Philippine Christian University (PCU) to explain HAS and “para at least ang mga haka-haka na ang law dawn a ito repressive, hindi po totoo yun (for the supposition that this law is repressive, it’s not true).”

HAS is more on prevention against terrorism.

Dimapilis said she attended the caucus to hear both sides, however after the discussion, she claimed that “napaka-vague pa rin ng definition ng terrorism is still vague).”

“Mas lalong tumitindi yung paniniwala ko na dapat i-kondena yung HAS (I am more convinced that HAS should be condemned),”

Meanwhile, Leonano contended that the alliance has o stand as to HAS. “It’s (forum) our way for providing answers regarding the HAS which we, ourselves cannot answer).”

Maanne Lopez

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