Anti-terror bill violates people’s basic rights, used as a tool for dictatorship – Anakpawis

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The militant Anakpawis party-list denounced on Friday the Senate  approval of Senate Bill 1083 Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 and slammed it as violative of people’s basic rights and a tool for a dictatorship.  

Anakpawis said its dubious provisions are the broadened definition of terrorism, extended allowable period of detention for a warrantless arrest and surveillance.

“Under this bill, anyone can be a terrorist based on their definition. Even the fire that damaged the Skyway in Manila could be declared as an act of terrorism. But as expected, this will be used against activists and critics, who usually belong to legal and democratic organizations,” Ariel  Casilao, Anakpawis Party-list former representative, said in a press statement.

Casilao also branded the bill as a tool for a dictatorship who intends to silence opposition and criticism from the people.

“A corrupt regime always wants to be a dictatorship, as we have endured from martial law regime of (former President Ferdinand)  Marcos. It desires to nip in the bud of criticism and opposition, declares activists as terrorists, and opposition politicians as accomplices of terrorists. This is an anti-people agenda and it should be opposed broadly by the people. It spits on the grave of martyrs who fought for democracy and legacy of the Filipino people of ousting a dictatorship,” he said.

The bill defined terrorism as engaging in the following acts with the purpose of inciting fear and seriously destabilizing structures in the country, among others: causing death or serious bodily injuries to any persons, or endangers a person’s life; causing extensive damage or destruction to a government or public facility, public place, or private property; causing extensive interference with, damage, or destruction to critical infrastructure.

“So a petty ambulant vendor who resist dispersal, and in the process seriously injures a police or government personnel is a terrorist under this bill. Large people’s protests such as during SONA, at Mendiola, setting up of picketlines and camp-outs could be easily undermined by this bill, by simply the government armed forces provoking a violent skirmish,” Casilao  said.  

Casilao  said that this will transform  the country into an authoritarian and totalitarian system, instead of being democratic as stated by the constitution.

The bill pushes the detention for a warrantless arrest for 14 days, extendable to 10 days, and the 60-day surveillance, extendable to 30 days.

“These provisions outright violate the people’s basic freedom for safety and liberty, expression, privacy and mobility. These are undemocratic and violative of the people’s basic human rights,” he also said./Stacy Ang

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