Is Anti-Terrorism Bill another excuse for the government to silence the public?

Monday, September 14, 2020

Filipinos dismayed with the senate's approval of Anti Terrorism Bill took to Twitter their concerns and desire to junk the bill.

The topic #JunkTerrorBill trended on Twitter with keywords #OustDuterte and “ACTIVISM IS NOT TERRORISM” after the House of Representatives committee on public order and safety approved the substitute version of the Human Security Act.

The bill hands power to the government to define what constitute terrorism, who are to be considered terrorists and its penalties.

Netizens are particularly railing against the administration’s decision, calling it as another excuse for the government to silence the public. An attack on human rights, freedom, and overall democracy of the country.

What's in the Philippines' New Anti-Terrorism Act?

Here are the activities that can be interpreted as "terrorism" under the new bill: 

1. Damage or alleged damage to gov't property;

2. Assault or attempted assault;

3. Purchase or carrying a knife or anything that can be used as a weapon;

4. Meet-ups, suspicion of plotting against gov't;

5. Donating or helping relief drives that aren't government/state-recognized;

6. Participating in a rally or any movement that can cause a "serious risk to public safety";

7. Posting, writing, sharing and/or retweeting posts (even memes) related to "terrorist activities";
Punishable by 12 years in jail to life imprisonment; warrantless arrest minimum 24 days; wiretapping and/or state surveillance."

Here are some of the reactions online:

Under the current administration, the Philippine government has been targeting activists through propaganda, crackdowns, violence. Activism is not terrorism and it’s time the government accept that.

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