PH military chief wants social media use regulated through terror law
MANILA, Philippines—The new chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) wants the use of social media regulated under the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
“We need to have specific provisions of this in the IRR pertaining to regulating the use of social media,” said Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay in his first press briefing on Monday (Aug. 3) as AFP chief at Camp Aguinaldo, the military headquarters in Quezon City.
The newly-installed military chief said that social media is being used as a platform by terrorists “to radicalize, to recruit, and even plan terrorist acts.”
“We will capitalize on this very, very good anti-terror law. It is comprehensive, it is proactive, it is geared to prevent the occurrence terroristic acts,” he said.
Regulating social media use, he said, would put authorities one step ahead of terror groups.
“They’re still planning but we should be able to stop already, deny them already,” he said in Filipino. “We will capitalize on that very good aspect of this anti-terror law,” he said.
Dozens of petitions had been filed at the Supreme Court seeking to declare the Anti-Terror Act as unconstitutional because of several of its highly controversial provisions. Among those are one that creates an Anti-Terror Council which is given the judicial power to issue arrest and search warrants even without any member of the judiciary in the body. Another is the extension of the period allowed for detention without charges.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier said that the military would be consulted on the crafting of the IRR, but said it was “too early to say” if social media would be covered by the law’s guidelines.
Other than the possible regulation of social media use, Gapay said he would also want a provision in the IRR that would intensify intelligence sharing between the Philippine military and its foreign counterparts.
He said the AFP would also provide inputs on boosting maritime security “to deny entry of foreign terrorists” and on how to curb radicalism.
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