Bishops: Bill could ‘reinforce tyranny, totalitarianism’
MANILA, Philippines — The Catholic Church’s social action arm has added its voice to those expressing opposition against the Anti-Terrorism Bill as it warned that it could “further reinforce tyranny and totalitarianism.”
“We cannot let this happen. This is not only intolerable, this is inhuman, unjust and unlawful,” Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, Caritas Philippines’ national director and Episcopal Commission on Social Action Justice and Peace chair, said.
Bagaforo, who is also the bishop of Kidapawan, also called on Filipinos to reject the measure, stressing they should not allow the government to curtail their democratic rights.
“The antiterror bill violates the rights of our people and makes a mockery of our Constitution,” he said.
Caritas Philippines has been active in opposing government actions when it sees them unfit and unjust and in demanding for transparency and accountability.
An ecumenical peace organization also raised concern that the anti-terror bill would further exacerbate red-tagging and human rights violations in the country.
The Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform is also concerned that the measure would affect the peace talks between the government and communist rebels.
“At times like these, the antiterrorism bill will not serve to end the conflicts of our land,” the group said in a statement.
The Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches also appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to veto the bill.
The PCEC said that while they recognize the necessity of legislative measures to protect the nation from terrorism, they believe that the bill “imperils” the rights of Filipinos and sense of dignity.
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