Bayan urges public to still ‘resist, protest, speak out’ amid Anti-Terror Law
MANILA, Philippines — With the enactment of the Anti-Terrorism bill into law, activist group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) has vowed to continue speaking up on issues concerning policies of the Duterte administration “especially on the health and economic crisis” the country is facing today.
Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes said Friday that President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval of the anti-terror measure only proves that the government “is more interested in suppressing dissent than in solving the health and economic crisis.”
Reyes’ remarks were issued shortly after news broke that Duterte has signed the controversial legislation, which comes as the health agency reported that COVID-19 cases in the country has breached the 40,000-mark inclusive of the latest record-high daily tally of 1,531 new infections.
“Despite the opposition from a broad array of sectors of society – from working people, human rights advocates, the legal community, academe, religious groups, business, media, and artists – President Duterte has signed the terror law. It shows that the regime is more interested in suppressing dissent than in solving the health and economic crisis,” Reyes said in a statement.
“The people are left with no choice but to resist and to defend our rights and freedoms against a tyrannical regime,” he added.
Reyes also said they will seek all possible avenues to challenge the newly-signed law – all the way to the Supreme Court.
“We will avail of all avenues to challenge the validity of the terror law. We call on the Filipino people: Resist. Protest. Speak out,” he added.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed to INQUIRER.net on Friday that Duterte has signed the Anti-Terrorism Act despite stiff opposition from critics, human rights organizations, and international bodies about possibilities of it being used to silence legitimate dissent.
Just this Wednesday, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called on Duterte to refrain from signing the bill as it allegedly blurs lines between criticism, crime, and terrorist actions.
Previously, Vice President Leni Robredo also questioned the timeliness of the bill, which was passed while the country is grappling a health crisis.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.