A state-of-the-art Regional Counterterrorism Training Center in the Philippines will be constructed in Cavite to serve as counterterrorism training for law enforcement units and personnel from the Philippines and the United States partner nations in the region.
This came after US Ambassador to Manila Sung Kim and Philippine National Police Chief General Oscar Albayalde led the groundbreaking for the construction of a modern counterterrorism training center on the grounds of the PNP Academy in Silang, Cavite last Friday (October 11).
As part of deepening bilateral counterterrorism partnership between the Washington and Manila, the US Department of State has secured P520 million ($10 million) in counterterrorism partnership funds to establish and jointly operate the center with the PNP.
“Once constructed, the center will provide counterterrorism training for law enforcement units and personnel from the Philippines and regional partner nations,” the Kim said in a statement released by the US Embassy.
The initiative was in response to a request from the PNP for a state-of-the-art facility to provide enhanced regional counterterrorism training.
“The establishment of this center reflects the U.S.’ enduring commitment to support Philippine counterterrorism efforts and work together to address threats to peace and security in the region,” the US envoy said.
Meanwhile, twenty-one Sandiganbayan justices participated in a roundtable discussions with American experts over the weekend on how to handle cases involving money laundering and financial crimes.
The event, which was organized by the US Embassy in the Philippines, US Department of Justice Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance, and Training (DOJ/OPDAT), the Supreme Court of the Philippines, and the Philippine Judicial Academy, aimed to enhance participants’ capabilities, competencies and skills in examining and adjudicating money laundering and financial crimes, deepen understanding on how to freeze assets, recover laundered property, and ensure proper preservation and management of assets.
Judge Bernice Donald of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit shared her expertise on traditional and emerging methods of money laundering, discussing the role that bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies and the dark web can play in money laundering, as well as other money laundering methods, including using money cards and gift cards, and through online networks.
“The knowledge-sharing program was designed to inform justices on relevant laws and decisions, sharpen justices’ ability to analyze accounts and follow the money trail, review emerging methods of money laundering and the role of electronic evidence, and best practices for applying court technology in adjudicating cases,” the US Embassy said, in a statement.
For her part, Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Geraldine Faith A. Econg said: “The Sandiganbayan justices truly appreciate the [DOJ/OPDAT] for organizing the roundtable. The topics, especially the rules on electronic evidence, were a valuable revisit of the laws and rules and made [the justices] realize that there is still room for more improvement in the delivery of justice.”
“As a friend, partner, and ally, the United States will continue to support the development of the Philippines justice system through judicial training of judges on cybercrime and financial crimes to help ensure that all Filipinos are served by a swift, fair and modernized court system,” the statement said.