By Priam Nepomuceno

NSC Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya (Screengrab from PTV)

MANILA – The National Security Council (NSC)’s decision to include Hamas as a terrorist group under the Philippines’ anti-terrorism law was neither instigated by the United States nor Israel.

“Again, hindi po ito (this is not under the) instigation of the United States; hindi po ito (this is not done by) instigation of the State of Israel. We are doing it, again, because of our national interest,” NSC Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya said in a Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon briefing Monday.

Malaya said the designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization was done after earlier investigations revealed that the group attempted to infiltrate and launch terrorist activities in the Philippines.

“In fact, 2018, mayroong isang Hamas operative na bomb maker dito sa Pilipinas na inaresto ng Philippine National Police at ito ay dineport natin sa Turkey. And also last year, mayroon din silang operatiba na kumakausap sa mga local extremist groups para makapag-operate din sa ating bansa (In fact, in 2018 there was a Hamas operative, who is also a bomb maker, in the country arrested by the Philippine National Police and deported to Turkey. And also last year, Hamas had operatives here talking to local extremist groups so that they could operate in our country),” Malaya said.

He added that these efforts are irrespective on whether the country will get favorable points on any nation for this measure.

“We are doing this in solidarity with the people and state of Israel na alam naman natin has (which we know have) been the subject of a brazen and deadly terrorist attack in the hands of the Hamas terrorist organization,” the NSC official said.

Malaya added that Hamas has already been declared a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, Australia and many other nations.

National Security Adviser Eduardo Año earlier said the NSC would push for the designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization under RA (Republic Act) 11479 as a priority agenda of the Anti-Terrorism Council.

“Together with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., we hope for a swift resolution to this conflict, we pray for the safety of innocent civilians, and we offer our thanks to the Government of Israel for its efforts to protect our citizens,” Año added. (PNA)