Solon: Anti-Terror Bill not anti-activism
MANILA, Philippines — The proposed Anti-Terror Bill is not anti-activism, a lawmaker supporting the measure said Tuesday.
In an online interview with reporters, Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Rep. Jericho Nograles said that the measure only seeks to address issues with “violent extremists” and not activists.
“Ang bill na ito ay hindi kontra aktibista (This bill is not anti-activists). No, we want activism. We promote activism,” Nograles said.
“Ang totoo nga dito ang bill na ito, dahil sa mga aktibista. Gusto natin na yung mga aktibista mabigyan ng mga mapayapang paraan para mag-campaign ng mga reforms para sa ating bansa,” he added.
(The truth is, this bill was created due to activists. We want to give activists peaceful means to push for the reforms they want for our country.)
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday sent a letter to Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano certifying House Bill No. 6875, which amends the Human Security Act of 2007, as urgent.
This means that the measure can be approved on second and third reading on the same day.
“Ang kinakalaban ng ating panukalang batas, ang mga terrorists. Sila ang ating kalaban. And mga violent extremists and mga violent na radical,” Nograles said.
(What we are fighting against in this proposed measure are terrorists. They are our foes as well as violent extremists and violent radicals.)
“Kailangan nating sabihing violent dahil yan ang pinoproteksyunan ng ating panukalang batas. Galit tayo sa violence,” the lawmaker added.
(We have to say violent because that is what the measure is protecting us from. We hate violence.)
Several groups and organizations, however, questioned the bill.
According to the International Coalition of Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP), the possible enactment would lead to a harsher approach to critics as they might now be accused of being part of terrorist groups.
“The Philippines has the longest and most militarized response to COVID-19 in the world. This terror bill, if signed into law, is a rubber stamp to already undeclared military rule and will only legalize the targeting of critics and civilians,” ICHRP chairperson Peter Murphy said.
The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), meanwhile, said that the passage of the measure could lead to human rights violations, misconduct, and abuse of law enforcers’ authority.
The House Committees on Public Order and Safety and on Defense and Security earlier adopted—and later on, approved—the Senate version of the bill to possibly fast track its approval.
The measure is now up for plenary debates in the House while it has already been approved on final reading in the Senate as early as February this year.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.