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BREAKING: Duterte signs anti-terror bill into law

/ 05:52 PM July 03, 2020

Update

MANILA, Philippines — Despite massive opposition, President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the controversial anti-terror bill into law.

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Presidential spokesman Harry Roque confirmed this in a text message to INQUIRER.net on Friday.

In a separate statement, Roque said the enactment of the measure, now known as the Republic Act No. 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, shows the Duterte administration’s commitment to eradicate terrorism.

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“Terrorism, as we often said, strikes anytime and anywhere. It is a crime against the people and humanity; thus, the fight against terrorism requires a comprehensive approach to contain terrorist threats,” Roque said.

“The signing of the aforesaid law demonstrates our serious commitment to stamp out terrorism, which has long plagued the country and has caused unimaginable grief and horror to many of our people.”

The new law seeks to strengthen the Human Security Act of 2007 and criminalizes incitement of terrorism “by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, banners or other representations.”

It also allows the detention of suspects for up to 24 days without charge and empowers an anti-terrorism council to designate suspects or groups as suspected terrorists who could be subjected to arrests and surveillance.

Duterte’s top military and security officials have cited the continuing threat of terror groups in the country such as the Abu Sayyaf as the main reason for the need for the law.

But lawyer groups, human rights advocates, and even some lawmakers have opposed the bill which they feared could be used as a potential state weapon against dissent.

The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 will take effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in at least 2 newspapers of general circulation.

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TAGS: anti-terror bill, Malacañang, Office of the President, Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, Terrorism
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