Kabataan Partylist reiterated its stand in opposing the proposed amendments on the Human Security Act (HSA).
The proposed amendments show no signs of really protecting the people against terrorism, but instead will only expand the power of the military over civilian affairs, Kabataan Partylist said in a statement.
Even when the proposed amendments are still being discussed in a Technical Working Group (TWG), the Duterte administration along with its military and police forces had nothing holding them back in committing human rights violations across the country, Kabataan Partylist said.
“In addition to the long-standing drug war, the people have witnessed relentless attacks on the rights from the implementation of yet another vicious policy. Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70 and other corresponding operational plans and memos all have a brand of ‘ending communist insurgency,’ but are in fact after civilians and legal organizations that are especially critical of the administration and its anti-people policies,” Kabataan Partylist said.
“It is with no doubt why in the previous year, the state of human rights has worsened. Even with just the original version of the HSA, cases of human rights violations have been reported citing abuse of military power and even the militarization of bureaucracy and civilian institutions,” the group said.
In 2019 alone, dubious search warrants have led to a series of questionable raids and arrests of human rights defenders. The sole representative of the youth, Rep. Sarah Elago, along with Atty. Neri Colmenares, have also experienced judicial harassment, a manifestation of the length the military and the Duterte regime would go just to silence their critics and trample dissent, they said.
False groups have also been established by the military to spread misinformation and disinformation against legitimate organizations and offices. In the discussions being made by the military in schools and communities, numerous organizations, including Kabataan Party-list, have been terrorist-tagged and maliciously being spoken of, the group said.
Elago said these actions are all under the counterinsurgency program of the Duterte administration.
The proposed amendments to the Human Security Act are therefore only inclined to intensify human rights abuses, she said.
From their catch-all definition of “terrorism” up to the inhumane penalties additionally being forwarded, the proposals only imply clamping down of dissent and further persecute government critics and political opposition, she said.
“Innocent civilians could be stripped of their rights and civil liberties,” Elago said.
“The Duterte administration has already carried out its killing spree, enough to warrant accountability from the President itself and its military cohorts. The people therefore don’t need amendments to a currently vicious policy that will further cement the grave human rights abuses being committed by the state,” she said.
“It is ironic that while the AFP and the Duterte administration are eager to amend a law that claims to secure the nation from terrorism, these very same elements neglect to acknowledge that they have committed crimes amounting to terrorism. This fact already exposes the nature of the proposals they are forwarding, which are primarily to expand the military rule over the nation and warranting the administration to commit more human rights violations against its people,” she also said./ Stacy Ang