[Press Release] As frontliners of the resistance, artist and youth groups condemn passage of terror bill – #WeTheFuturePH

As frontliners of the resistance, artist and youth groups condemn passage of terror bill

Artists and youth groups in the country expressed their indignation and dissent over the swift passage of the Anti-Terror Bill, also infamously called the Terror Bill. Congress approved the bill on the night of June 3, two days after President Rodrigo Duterte certified it as urgent.

#WeTheFuturePH, a non-partisan national movement of Filipino youth standing up for rights, freedom, and democracy, stood against the bill and demanded its immediate repeal.

“The historic battle cry for Freedom — Kalayaan — has been frontlined by the youth since the days of the Philippine Revolution until today,” said #WeTheFuturePH spokesperson Madelene de Borja in a statement. “Hence, the Terror Bill is a betrayal, not only of democratic principles but also of our historical struggle for Freedom and Independence.”

The group called the bill “a political tool criminalizing dissent, activism, and being a member of the political opposition, all of which are indispensable and essential in a free, independent, and democratic country.”

“Dissent and protests are corrective tools of the people against different forms of injustice, especially those committed by the government,” De Borja said. “They serve to communicate and realize our aspirations for a better nation.”

“We need safe spaces, online and on-ground, where we can freely express ourselves and exchange ideas without fear. The Terror Bill will deprive us of these safe spaces by providing a blanket authority to state agents and government-allied online trolls to harass, intimidate, and threaten critical voices of dissent,” she added.

#WeTheFuturePH was part of online protests organized by various grassroots, labor, and human rights movements calling to junk the bill this morning.

“The Filipino youth deserves better. We demand better: better leadership, better governance, better public services, better policy solutions, and better leaders that uphold our rights, freedoms, and dignity, and protect our country’s democracy — this is our vision for the New Normal,” De Borja emphasized.

“Our demand is a better Philippines. In 2022, we shall fulfill this vision through the power of the vote to elect legislators who will prioritize us and elect a president who does not kill us.”

The artist collective DAKILA also took a stand against the Terror Bill in a statement, pointing out that the critical citizenry is not the enemy.

“While we stand against any real threat to the public, the anti-terror bill is built on dangerous provisions that only indicate its true targets: valid criticisms and legitimate acts of dissent — both important to a functioning democracy,” said DAKILA spokesperson Leni Velasco.

For DAKILA, the bill both justifies and intensifies the state of surveillance, red-tagging, and human rights violations in the country.

“The vagueness of the bill also makes every Filipino a potential target. By simply expressing an opinion on the government, anyone can be arrested without any warrant and may be imprisoned,” Velasco expounded.

DAKILA showed support for the protest against the Terror Bill through an email campaign to legislators demanding for them to scrap the bill. They also joined forces with members of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), such as Balaod Mindanaw, Karapatan, LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights), Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) in a statement to condemn the bill and marched with the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) at the rally held today at UP Diliman.

“As the bill creates more terror than it solves, we call on to everyone to join us in expressing our strong rejection of the terror bill and to focus on the real urgency now — the curbing of the pandemic,” Velasco said.

Walang pipikit. DAKILA called on all Filipinos to be watchful and to speak against any threats to undermine human rights as enshrined in the Constitution. DAKILA and #WeTheFuturePH pledged to uphold the historical role of artists and youth as frontliners of the resistance — to pursue eternal vigilance to protect the freedom of the nation.
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For press inquiries, please contact the following:
#WeTheFuturePH: 09951033706 | wethefuturephilippines@gmail.com
DAKILA: 09155833364 | mabuhay@dakila.org.ph

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Submit your contribution online through HRonlinePH@gmail.com
Include your full name, e-mail address, and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos, etc

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