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Church-led network of 250 groups joins call for terror law repeal

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—A network of 250 Church and people’s groups sought to add its voice to the already loud protests being heard nationwide against the enactment of the Anti-Terrorism Act which the groups said came at a time when the country faced severe threats from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) said instead of passing legislation relevant to the fight against COVID-19, the government instead gave priority to enacting the terror law.

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PMPI is a network of more than 250 Church, nongovernment and people’s groups nationwide in partnership with Misereor, a social development arm of German bishops based in Aachen, Germany.

The group accused the Duterte administration of having no regard for the people’s clamor against the new terror law.

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“As we call for systematic, efficient, and humane solutions in this time of crisis, the nation was instead ‘gifted’ with this despicable law,” said Yolanda Esguerra, PMPI national coordinator.

The law, Esguerra said, was “intended to control and manage the growing dissent of people” over government failure to “address the problems of the poorest Filipinos during the pandemic.”

The group said it feared the new anti-terrorism law would subvert people’s fundamental rights and liberties, paving the way for a situation much worse than martial law during the rule of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

“The dark days of Philippine history will come to haunt us all over again with this legal measure,” said the PMPI statement.

“It will be like the Damocles sword hanging above us, ready to fall and chop-off our heads,” the statement said.

PMPI said it would join other groups calling for the repeal of the law and questioning its constitutionality.

“We oppose this measure because its vagueness and over-broadness is prone to abuse and can be used to suppress dissent,” the statement said.

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TAGS: Church groups, enactment, Human rights, law, ‎protest, Terrorism
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