Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Friday asked intelligence agencies to submit proposals to increase their capabilities to deal with terrorist activities.
Pimentel and senators from the majority bloc were briefed by DILG Officer-in-Charge Catalino Cuy on Tuesday regarding the situation in Marawi, and the briefing included an overview of the capabilities of the country’s intelligence agencies.
“Terrorism is the new norm. Our intelligence agencies have the duty to be as capable as possible to deal with this threat”, the Senate President said.
Pimentel, who in May called intelligence agencies to task over their failure to prevent the Quiapo blasts, repeated his call for these agencies to approach Congress with their needs so they can be funded.
“From what I learned, we already enjoy a good relationship with Interpol. However, we cannot maximize the relationship because of the lack of high-tech equipment necessary to keep watch on terrorist groups”, said Pimentel.
The Senate leader said that intelligence agencies should take the first step in alleviating these deficiencies in their abilities.
Pimentel said, “Only they know what they really need. They must tell us what they want to buy, why they’re needed, and how much they cost. Only then can we actually fund them in the budget.”
The Senate President, a native of Mindanao, is bothered by the intelligence agencies’ failure to sound the alarm over the Maute group’s attack on Marawi City.
Pimentel said, “The equipment might be expensive, but it would be more expensive to risk the lives of our citizens and have to rebuild cities over and over again because we cannot prevent attacks.”
The Senate President however emphasized that this does not mean that intelligence agencies would be let off the hook if another terrorist attack happens.
“I want them to be given all that they need to do their jobs. Then they will not have any excuse when called to account for what the Filipino people have spent on them if they fail”, said Pimentel.