Anti-Terror Bill passage shows Duterte admin’s ‘misplaced priorities’ – Hontiveros
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday said the passage of the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act in the House of Representatives shows the Duterte administration’s “misplaced priorities” especially during this COVID-19 pandemic.
In a tweet following the lower chamber’s approval of the controversial proposal, Hontiveros also called the move a “tragedy to democracy.”
“Sa panahong ang mga Pilipino’y nagkakasakit, nawawalan ng trabaho, walang masakyan, at nagugutom dahil sa COVID-19, ang inihaing solusyon ng gobyerno ay isang Anti-Terrorism Bill na pwedeng ipakulong ang mga nagrereklamo,” Hontiveros said in a tweet.
[At a time when Filipinos are getting sick, losing jobs, struggling to get to work, and are getting hungry because of COVID-19, the solution offered by the government is the Anti-Terrorism Bill which could jail those expressing dissent.]
Before the House gave its final approval of the measure, President Rodrigo Duterte certified it as urgent, allowing legislators to expedite its passage.
“Misplaced priorities. A tragedy for democracy,” Honiveros added.
Sa panahong ang mga Pilipino'y nagkakasakit, nawawalan ng trabaho, walang masakyan, at nagugutom dahil sa COVID-19, ang inihaing solusyon ng gobyerno ay isang Anti-Terrorism Bill na pwedeng ipakulong ang mga nagrereklamo.
Misplaced priorities. A tragedy for democracy.
— risa hontiveros (@risahontiveros) June 3, 2020
While the measure is seen to toughen up the country’s anti-terrorism policies, various groups raised concerns that this would trigger human rights violations and suppress dissent.
Hontiveros, alongside fellow opposition Sen. Francis Pangilinan, were the only lawmakers who voted against the bill when it was approved in the Senate in February.
Pangilinan, in a separate statement, shared the same sentiment as Hontiveros as he underscored the need to prioritize the improvement of public transportation and health service in the country during this pandemic.
“Hindi natin kailangan ng magbibigay ng mas maraming kapangyarihan sa gobyerno para supilin ang karapatan ng mamamayan, lalo na’t palpak o kurakot ang sukli ng kanilang tiwala,” he said.
[We don’t need to grant more powers to the government to quell the rights of the public, especially when what they get in return are failures and corruption from the government.]
“Pakinggan natin ang hinaing at hiling ng taumbayan, he added.
[Let’s listen to the grievances and appeal of the Filipino people].
Two of the anti-terror bill’s principal authors in the Senate earlier defended the measure and assured the public that there are “enough safeguards” in place.
“I suggest they read the bill first before reacting,” Senate President Vicente Sotto III had said. “Terrorists or their supporters are the only ones who will be afraid of the bill.”
Before the controversial bill reached the plenary floor in the lower chamber, two committees in the House adopted — and eventually approved — the Senate version of the bill.
On Tuesday, the lower chamber approved the Anti-Terrorism Bill on second reading after merely hours of deliberations.
During the period of individual amendments before the second reading approval of the bill, all proposed amendments were also rejected.
This means the Senate and the House will no longer need to convene in a bicameral conference committee since there were no disagreeing provisions between the two versions.
The measure will now be transmitted to the Office of the President for Duterte’s signature.
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