Baguio groups renew calls for junking of anti-terror law | Inquirer News

Baguio groups renew calls for junking of anti-terror law

/ 09:49 PM September 08, 2023

Baguio groups renew calls for junking of anti-terror law

Student activists and human rights advocates in Baguio City stage a protest on Thursday (Sept. 7) at the University of the Philippines Baguio to renew their clamor for the junking of the anti-terror law. (Photo by Jethro Bryan Andrada)

BAGUIO CITY — Youth and human rights groups in this city staged a protest on Thursday (Sept. 7) calling for the junking of the anti-terror law as they sought the government’s accountability for the recent incidents of alleged harassment of activists in the Cordillera, some of whom were tagged as terrorists.

Dexter Bacud, a representative of the militant youth organization Anakbayan, said the anti-terror law is being “weaponized to sow fear among progressives.”


In early June, four activists from the indigenous people’s rights advocate Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) were designated as terrorists by the Anti-Terrorism Council by virtue of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATC) of 2020.


Through ATC Resolution No. 41, Series of 2023, the ATC said this move was based on “verified and validated information” gathered by law enforcement agencies.

But the CPA denounced the allegation, describing it as a “deliberate attempt” to single out activists who were active in their work in the Cordillera region.

“Real terrorism is when you are penalized (by state forces) for simply taking a stand on issues,” Bacud told the Inquirer during the protest at the University of the Philippines Baguio.

Rhanydell Baysa, a member of the Youth Act Now Against Tyranny, also joined the clamor for the immediate junking of the anti-terror law.

“The anti-terrorism council is supposed to be arresting terrorists, but instead they’re arresting peasant communities, human rights advocates, and farmers,” Baysa said in a separate interview.

He added: “We have to hold the state accountable and call for the junking of the terror law.”


Impact on students of the Anti-Terror Law

Iya Trinidad, the newly appointed UP student regent, also called on student attendees to join the campaign against the anti-terror law since the effect of this and similar laws could be felt even within schools.

Trinidad also shed light on recent cases of harassment among student leaders in Mindanao and the Southern Tagalog Region.

Red Masacupan, the second nominee for student regent from UP Mindanao, had received a note at her apartment’s doorstep on Aug. 22, accusing her of being a communist and telling her she was being watched.

Jpeg Garcia, the third nominee for student regent from UP Los Banos, was accused of violating the anti-terror law by the 59th Infantry Battalion on Sept. 1, saying he did a “tour of duty” as a member of communist-terrorist groups.

Trinidad said that the challenge for the youth now was to “amplify their demands despite the dangers and to apply their learnings to society.”

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READ: CPP says anti-terror council reso is proof terror law is being ‘weaponized’

TAGS: anti-terror bill, Anti-Terrorism Law

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