It was either to let it lapse into law or sign. Duterte preferred to sign it last 3 July 2020. To veto is not his option.
The passage of the ATA or Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 (Republic Act 11479) and signing it into law have just spoken who and what this administration really is and intends to do – sow terror and stifle the voices of the dissent, a tyrant.
Proven in the past administrations, war and attack to the democratic demands and criticisms only heightened rebellions and resistance. The neglect to the democratic demands of the peoples and communities have provided a space for the extreme and violent tendencies. And the new Anti-Terrorism law is a desperate answer to these from the very start.
We believe that the new ATA is a systemic assault to silent the democratic demands of the peoples for a meaningful, democratic, just, pro-people, pro-environment, pro-human rights governance and society. This is in fact an institutionalization of the militarist framework in dealing with social and democratic aspirations of the peoples and sectors, criticisms and dissents. This can also be weaponized against the massive clamor for accountability in the government’s COVID-19 pandemic response that is maligned with corruption and abuse of authority issues. Of the same extent, it could be used against the political oppositions in the upcoming 2022 National elections for a mere ‘suspicion’ of being affiliates and supporter of terrorist groups.
Mindanao in most cases have been a witness and even destroyed by the Anti-Terrorism campaign of the world that for most cases, have targeted BangsaMoro and Indigenous Peoples asserting for their Right to Self-Determination and Ancestral Domains; the peasant, fisherfolks and rural populations aspiring for land reform and tenure; the social and political activists struggling for their respective rights and welfare; and the rest of the populations resisting development aggression by the collaborating multi-national agribusiness, mining corporations and political lords. The prevalent connivance of the political oligarchs, capitalists and corrupt law enforcers to repress peoples’ and community’s democratic assertions could even be justified using ATA.
The Duterte administration and its allies in the Lower House, the Senate and the security sector should be reminded that the 1987 Philippine Constitution remains the highest law of the country. In fact, this 1987 Philippine Constitution (that the current Duterte administration keeps on undermining) is a product of that historic people’s resistance in the country that toppled down the tyrant Marcos.
We demand to the Supreme Court to automatically declare Republic Act 11479 or ATA unconstitutional.
We call on all justice, peace, democracy and human rights loving individuals, organizations and movements to stand and resist by all necessary means all forms of abuse and repressions.
While we stand against all forms of violence and terrorism, we cannot gamble our inherent rights as persons, peoples and communities. Further let us demand foods, medicines and wellness – a community and people-centered pandemic response and NOT threats, bullets and lies in this trying times.
Let us be of full vigilance and don’t lost a sight to the fight for a democratic, sustainable, ecological and pro-peoples socio-economic and political future.
Let us overcome the CoVID-19 pandemic and the threats to democracy and human dignity together.
July 4, 2020
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