DND, AFP embrace Senate bill proposing tougher anti-terror measures
MANILA, Philippines—Defense and military officials on Thursday (Feb. 27) welcomed the Senate’s passage of the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act which they said would add more teeth to efforts to fight terrorism.
The Senate on Wednesday (Feb. 26) voted 19-2 to pass Senate Bill No. 1083, or the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, sponsored by Sen. Panfilo Lacson. It was envisioned as a “strong legal backbone to support the country’s criminal justice response to terrorism.”
The bill sought to repeal the Human Security Act of 2007, which Lacson said was ineffective in fighting terror.
“A stronger legislative measure against terrorism will enhance our defenders’ capacity to make our communities safer and more secured,” said Arsenio Andolong, Department of National Defense spokesperson, in a statement.
“We thank the Senate for recognizing the need to strengthen the institutions that are tasked to safeguard our nation,” he said.
Key features of the bill included life imprisonment “without parole” for anyone who would “propose, incite, conspire and participate in the planning, training, preparation and facilitation of a terrorist act.”
The same penalty awaits those “who will provide material support to terrorists and recruit anyone to be a member of a terrorist organization.”
The measure also introduced a section on foreign terrorist fighters to apply also to Filipino nationals who commit terrorist acts abroad.
The bill would also allow police or military to conduct 60-day surveillance on suspected terrorists, which may be go on for another non-extendable period of 30 days if allowed by the Court of Appeals.
“The lawmakers have better empowered and capacitated the AFP and other government security forces in their campaigns to protect and secure our people against the global menace of terrorism,” said AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo in a separate statement.
Arevalo said the military remained committed to respecting international humanitarian laws and the safeguards against abuses set in the bill.
Edited by TSB
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