PNP assures Anti-Terror Law will not be abused against activists, opposition
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Sunday assured the public that the heavily contested Anti-Terrorism Law will not be subjected to abuse.
This came after the Supreme Court declared that two portions of the Anti-Terrorism Law are unconstitutional.
In a statement, PNP chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos explained that the Anti-Terror Law will not be used as an instrument to crackdown on activism because it has already been cleared out that a simple expression of advocacy or dissent or other similar exercises of civil and political rights are not considered as terroristic acts.
“Thus, Freedom of Expression is upheld and respected,” said Carlos.
However, Carlos remained firm that the said law remains an effective tool in “curbing insurgency, terrorism and other forms of lawlessness.”
“Over-all, we still see the law as favorable to the best interest of law and order,” said Carlos.
According to the PNP, its intelligence and investigative elements are part of the support agencies of the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC). Its focus programs include:
• Preventing and countering violent extremism programs. This program aims to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism such as ethnic, national and religious discrimination, socio-economic disgruntlement, political exclusion, dehumanization of victims of terrorism, lack of good governance and prolonged unresolved conflicts by winning the hearts and minds of the people to prevent them from engaging in violent extremism.
• Preventing and combating terrorism program . This program shall focus on denying terrorist groups access to the means to carry out attacks on their targets on formulating appropriate responses to the desired impact through decisive engagements.
The Anti-Terrorism Act was signed into law on July 3, 2020, and went into effect on July 18. Since then, it has been the subject of 37 Supreme Court petitions, making it the most contentious law to date.
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