Australia equipment donation to boost AFP drive vs. extremism

Australia equipment donation to boost AFP drive vs. extremism

MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday turned over to its Civil Relations Service essential electronic equipment earlier donated by Australia, which will be used in efforts to counter violent extremism.

“The electronic equipment and gadgets, previously housed at the AFP Education, Training, and Doctrine Command (AFPETDCOM), will enhance the capability of the CRSAFP (Civil Relations Service AFP) in their function of documenting and encoding diverse and vast information on personalities and events relative to violent extremism and terrorism,” AFP Chief-of-Staff, Gen. Jose Faustino Jr., said in a statement.

Faustino, together with CRSAFP commander, Maj. Gen. Manuel Sequitin, led the turnover of the equipment in a ceremony in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Representing the Australian government were Lt. Col. Timothy John Lopsik, assistant defense attache, and Sara Fouchy, defense intelligence liaison officer and second secretary of the Australian Embassy.

The AFPETDCOM, led by Maj. Gen. Francisco Ariel Felicidario III received the donation of modern information technology and multimedia equipment by Canberra on June 23.

“The AFP is fortunate to have been afforded essential electronic equipment by one of its staunch allies in combatting terrorism – the Australian government through its embassy here in the Philippines,” Faustino said.

Among the new equipment were high-tech computers, tablets, storage devices, smart TVs, cameras, and audio recording components.

Sequitin said the data collected and processed through the equipment are crucial in the AFP’s efforts to develop proactive measures in preventing and countering violent extremism.

“We at the CRS are given a unique task. We are unlike any other soldiers because we are not armed with long rifles and heavy equipment. Instead, on our hands are cameras ready to capture reality, loudspeakers for speaking the truth, and our hearts always ready to extend a helping hand,” he said.

The equipment will also boost the CRSAFP’s current capability to provide commanders and troops more valuable materials and timely information to effectively carry out counter violent extremism efforts.

Faustino also assured that the AFP could address some of the root causes of terrorism and violent extremism, however complex and multifaceted they may be.

“As espoused by the United Nations, violent extremism may be prevented through inclusive development, tolerance and respect for diversity – measures that the AFP has successfully championed over the years as we shifted towards convergence of efforts in order to achieve lasting peace and sustainable development in the countryside,” he said. (PNA)

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