DILG ready to work with Congress to revive Anti-Subversion Law
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said it is prepared to coordinate with Congress in a bid to revive the Anti-Subversion Law and criminalize membership with the communist groups.
“We are ready to work with Congress to craft such a legislation that responds to the needs of the times and places the necessary safeguards to ensure our Constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms of association and free speech,” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement on Wednesday.
Año on Monday proposed the restoration of the Republic Act 1700, or the Anti-Subversion Law, citing intelligence reports that from 500 to 1,000 youths are regularly being indoctrinated allegedly by the communist movement to either become members of the New People’s Army (NPA) or serve as leaders of militant organizations in schools.
Año said the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and related groups are taking advantage of the repealed law to continue their recruitment activities in schools.
The Interior secretary explained that the law aims to criminalize communist-related groups that are eyeing to attack the government through armed struggle, saying the law will not cover dissent and political opposition.
“We wish to emphasize that our proposal to revive the Anti-Subversion Law is only for members of the CPP-NPA-NDF and all groups directly supporting it. It only covers the communists who are actively working to overthrow the government through armed struggle and does not, in any way, cover legitimate dissent, political opposition, or similar groups,” he said.
The law, which was enacted in 1957, makes membership of the CPP and “any other organization having the same purpose” punishable by up to 12 years imprisonment.
In 1992, it was repealed as part of the peace negotiations between the communist rebels and former President Fidel V. Ramos. /jpv
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