Malaya Movement Canada expresses its opposition to the newly approved version of the Human Security Act of 2007 also known as Senate Bill 1083 or the Anti-Terrorism Law, authored and sponsored by Senator Panfilo Lacson. This anti-terrorism bill is designed to bring a chilling effect and serve as harassment to dissenters, activists and rights defenders and advocates.
The bill grants state security forces the license to carry out warrantless arrests and detain suspected terrorists for an initial period of up to 14 days, extendable for another 10 more days.
The bill also seeks to impose 12 years to life imprisonment against those who “propose, incite, conspire, or participate in the planning, training, preparation and facilitation of “terrorist” acts as well as those who “finance or provide material support and recruit members to “terrorist” groups, while previous safeguards against the abuse of the law were completely removed.
With a vague and ambiguous definition of “terrorism,” the problem of the bill lies in poblematic assumption of suspicion thus anybody and anyone could be arrested without any proven evidence whatsoever. This would further escalate human rights abuses being committed by the current Duterte government through the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) against activists, human rights defenders, workers and peasant communities as it contains provisions legalizing surveillance, warrantless arrests and arbitrary detention.
Aside from dissenters, the bill would also impact and target critics, dissenters, journalists or even civilians who could be tagged as accessories to inciting to terrorism. It would also malign assemblies of people or groups who refuse to conform to the ploys of the administration. This vagueness of the law could lead to abuse and violation of the civil liberties and political rights already under attack by the current administration.
Malaya Movement Canada, including all its members from other provinces, calls on all freedom-loving Filipinos in Canada to keep up the pressure and resistance against this anti-terrorism law, and work in our local communities to expose and oppose the effort of the Duterte government to criminalize dissent and silence democratic opposition with wanton disregard to the civil and political rights of our people.
MALAYA Movement Canada in Toronto