‘Bato’ to anti-terror bill critics: Don’t blame gov’t if terrorism escalates
MANILA, Philippines — Critics of the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 should not blame the government if terrorism in the country worsens, Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said on Sunday.
“Sige okay lang sa akin, eh di i- junk ninyo, gusto ninyo i-junk? Sige junk ninyo. Kapag kayo nabiktima ng terorista, kapag may namatay sa mahal sa buhay ninyo kayo mismo huwag ninyo sisihin ang gobyerno na hindi gumagawa ng paraan para mahinto ang terrorism para masawata ang terrorism,” Dela Rosa said in a radio dzBB interview.
(It’s fine with me. You want the bill junked? Then have it junked. But don’t blame the government for not acting to curb terrorism once you become. victim of terrorism or if a loved one is killed due to to terorism)
“Gusto ninyo ng another Marawi siege? Gusto ninyo ng another Zamboanga siege? Go ahead. Gusto ninyo ng bombing kaliwa kananan? Go ahead i-junk natin ito basta huwag ninyo sisihin ang gobyerno kapag nagkaletse letse sa terrorism dito,” he added.
(You want another Marawi siege? You want another Zamboanga siege? Go ahead. You want to have bombings left and right? Go ahead junk this bill, just don’t blame the government if terrorism worsens in the country.)
Militant and human rights groups, among others, fear that the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 will be abused and used to go after critics of the government.
The Commission on Human Rights previously flagged the vague definition of terrorism in the measure which could allow authorities to brand criticisms as inciting to terrorist acts.
The controversial measure is now up for President Duterte’s signature after the leaders of House of Representatives and Senate signed the bill.
On the possibility of the bill being vetoed, Dela Rosa hopes that the President Rodrigo Duterte will sign the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 which was approved by the Senate in February.
“Sana naman pirmahin niya (Duterte) otherwise kawawa naman kami (Senate) grabe pagtalakay namin sa batas na ito tapos ma-veto lang. Anyway, that’s part of the process okay lang sa amin pero sana pirmahan niya,” Dela Rosa said.
(I hope he signs it. We worked so hard for this bill and it would be such a waste if it would just be vetoed. Anyway, that is the process. It is okay but I do hope he signs it.)
Dela Rosa stressed that the proposed measure “clearly” defined what terrorism is.
“Klaro e terrorism does not include (It is clear that terrorism does not include) advocacy, protest, dissent, stoppage of work, mass or industrial actions and other similar exercises of civil and political rights,” he said.
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