House's swift passage of Anti-Terror Bill despite raging pandemic justified | Inquirer News

House’s swift passage of Anti-Terror Bill despite raging pandemic justified

/ 08:32 PM June 02, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Amid questions raised on the timing of the Anti-Terror Bill ‘s passage while the country grapples the coronavirus crisis, a lawmaker has defended the House of Representatives’ action in approving the controversial proposed law.

Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Rep. Jericho Nograles asserted Tuesday that several bills such as the bill mandating pooled baseline Polymerase Chain Reaction testing for vulnerable sectors, as well as the measure seeking P1.3 trillion economic stimulus package to cushion the economic effects of the pandemic have been approved on second reading in the lower chamber.


“Hindi talaga tayo nagkukulang pagdating sa mga panukalang batas pagdating sa COVID-19,” Nograles told reporters in an online briefing.

“At hindi dapat i-compare itong national security, na inuuna natin ang national security as compared yung mga problema natin sa COVID-19. I think that’s an unfair comparison, even begging into a logical fallacy already,” he added.


Nograles likewise said the House did not railroad the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Bill.

“I’d like to disabuse na mabilisan itong pinanday. Kasi like I mentioned earlier, pitong taon na ito at pangatlo nang Kongreso na ang pagpapanday ng ating panukalang batas, at dumaan na ito ng napakaraming public hearings,” Nograles said.

“Pagdating dito sa Kongreso, hindi natin ito minadali. It just so happens na nakita ng executive na we need this immediately or more or less faster than the rest of the laws,” the lawmaker added.

Several groups have questioned the timing of the passage of the anti-terrorism measure, especially as the country continues to confront the coronavirus pandemic.

Among these groups were the International Coalition of Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) and party-list group Bayan Muna.

“We are appalled of how the Philippine government is giving priority to repressive legislation but remains bungling in addressing the pandemic. We have seen too many deaths both from the virus and the violence President Duterte has unleashed against his people,” ICHRP chairperson Peter Murphy said.

Meanwhile, Bayan Muna chair Neri Colmenares said Congress should instead focus on bills that “effectively respond to the COVID pandemic.”


On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte sent a letter to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano certifying as urgent House Bill No. 6875, which amends the Human Security Act of 2007.

This means that the measure can be approved on second and third reading on the same day.

The proposed law 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.

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TAGS: anti-terror bill, House Bill No. 6875, Human Security Act of 2007, Jericho Nograles, Rodrigo Duterte
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