Senate to prioritize anti-terrorism, public service bills
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III on Wednesday said the upper chamber would put priority on approving the proposed Anti-terrorism Act and Public Service Act and the proposed amendments in the Public Service Act in the last few days of the 17th Congress.
The bill, among other things, seeks to detain a person suspected of committing terrorist acts for 14 days even without a case being filed.
According to Sotto, current laws on security “favors the terrorist” and are too lenient.
“Unless some important bill escapes me, what I know is that the important bills that we have to approve are number one the anti-terrorism act. It used to be the Human Security Act, we made amendments to the Human Security Act, but the short title would be the Anti-terrorism Act,” Sotto said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum at the Senate.
“Our present security act favors the terrorist,” Sotto, speaking partly in Filipino added. “It’s too lenient. So this time around, it is really anti-terrorism.”
Problems with basic services
The Senate President also underscored recent problems that the country faced related to basic services — such as energy and water supply which calls for the amendments to the Public Service Act.
“You have seen the problems that we have encountered not only with the telco, with the airlines, and the water — most especially the water. All these fall under the category of the Public Services Act and our Public Service Act is as old as Mahoma,” Sotto said.
Mahoma is another name for Muhammad, the founder of Islam.
Sotto added that the current version of the act was also outdated.
“As a matter of fact, there is within the code — if you were to scrutinize it — there is within the code a certain provision that we need the permission of the president of the United States. [This dates back to the] Commonwealth [era]. So we really need to approve that right away. It’ already on second reading,” Sotto said.
The 17th Congress will end in June following the May 13 midterm elections.
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