Youth groups launch protest vs Anti-Terrorism Bill in Naga City
LEGAZPI CITY — Some 165 protesters from various youth groups, student councils, and campus publications in Naga City staged a rally on Saturday in Naga City to call for the junking of the Anti-Terrorism Bill.
Senate Bill 1083 and House Bill 6875, which passed on third and final reading in February and on Wednesday, June 3, respectively, seek to amend the Human Security Act of 2007.
The bill, viewed by some critics as unconstitutional and a potential tool for more human rights abuses, is up for President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature.
Youth groups from the University of Nueva Caceres and Ateneo de Naga University staged the protest at the Plaza Quince Martires in Naga City, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing as anti-coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) measure.
The groups were holding and raising placards that say, “Free Mass Testing Now,” “Release the Cebu 8,” “Junk Terror Bill,” and, “Resist Tyranny.”
Sasah Sta. Rosa, Jovenes Anakbayan Naga City spokesperson, hit the bill supporter’s defense that “only terrorists will be afraid of the bill.”
“They should tell that to the eight who staged a protest at the University of the Philippines Cebu that were arrested by the forces of the state even if the Anti-Terror Bill has not yet been signed,” Sta. Rosa told Inquirer. “We have long heard that rotten defense during the drug war, but many innocent lives were wrongly accused and killed.”
On Friday, June 5, at least eight protesters in UP Cebu were arrested by police officers in anti-riot gears.
Sta. Rosa said that the passage of the bill exposes the Duterte administration’s misplaced priorities.
“The Anti-Terror Bill was the administration’s urgent answer for our calls because they know that in their negligence and in their refusal to give quick action to the immediate needs in terms of health, livelihood, and education, many people are expressing dissent against the government,” she said.
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