Why the country needs anti-terror law: ‘Even with COVID-19, PH faces terror threat’
MANILA, Philippines – There is an urgency for the country to have a law against terrorism because, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the country is also facing threats from terrorists, a government official said Thursday.
Last June 1, President Rodrigo Duterte has certified as urgent the Anti-Terrorism Bill.
“A bill to be certified as urgent, there must be either an emergency or a calamity, this bill, the Anti-Terrorism bill met this,” Assistant Solicitor General Angelita V. Miranda said during the online discussion on the proposed anti-terror law of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Makati Chapter.
Miranda said in 2019, the country was at number nine in the global listings with active terrorists.
She added that the country also has to meet the deadline imposed by the financial action task force: “If we cannot pass this bill, there will be hardships in the remittance and we are going to pay more in our international obligations.”
She also mentioned the series of terror attacks in Mindanao, such as the Marawi siege, the death of 44 members of the elite Special Action Force, the suicide bombings.
Law professor and human rights advocate Atty. Theodore Te questioned what can an anti-terror law do that the extended martial law in Mindanao failed to accomplish.
Administration lawmaker Jericho Nograles of the Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) said the current problem is that the government cannot act despite the presence of information on a possible terror attack due to lack of the law.
Citing the Marawi siege as an example, he said: “There is actionable intelligence report against the Maute group but we cannot move until they can execute their plan.”
Miranda, on the other hand, dispelled apprehension on the bill once it becomes a law.
“This is for the terrorists,” she said.
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