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09/10/2009: Ambassador Gaa: “In Fighting Terrorism, it is in our Best Interests to Work Together”

At a recent Ambassadors Roundtable Series on International Collaboration to Combat Terrorism and Insurgency hosted by the Homeland Security Policy Institute (HSPI) at George Washington University on 06 October 2009, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Willy C. Gaa delivered a presentation highlighting the important lessons learned by the Philippine government in its decades-long struggles against both communist and Islamist insurgencies, including the National People’s Army (NPA), the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF); and against international terror groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah and the Abu Sayyaf Group.

Before a group composed of members of the academe, U.S. government officials, representatives from think tanks and policy organizations, Ambassador Gaa emphasized the need and value of regional and international cooperation in addressing the current threat of global terrorism. With reference to the current threat posed by terrorism, Ambassador Gaa said, “The advent of globalization and the spread of extremist ideology and beliefs have given rise to a threat that has become transnational and global in nature. In addition, it is perpetrated by non-State actors and groups that easily transcend borders and take root in various communities throughout the globe. To effectively address this development, working together has not only become a necessity, but is also in our best interests.”

During his presentation and in the discussions that followed, Ambassador Gaa also shared insights into the current security approach of the Philippines, stating that, “Decades of experience and recent successes have shown my Government that a purely military approach or solution is not sufficient and that a key aspect in addressing terrorism and insurgencies is understanding its root causes and effectively implementing programs that address these root causes. Soft and hard power must go hand in hand in tackling these root causes, a balance must be found for each particular situation but it is never advisable to implement one exclusive of the other.” END.