Tag Archives: Anti-Terror Bill

[In the news] Alarm over Duterte’s new anti-terrorism bill for Philippines -Aljazeera

Alarm over Duterte’s new anti-terrorism bill for Philippines

Proposed law includes provisions allowing for people to be held for longer without charge.

The Philippine Congress moved closer on Monday towards enacting a new anti-terrorism law that would allow longer detentions without charge, and give the executive branch more power against dissent, raising alarm among rights groups and the opposition.

The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 has been approved at the committee level and members of the House of Representatives are expected to debate and fast-track its approval before they go on a two-month break from June 6.

The Senate approved a similar proposal earlier this year, with only two members dissenting. Both chambers of Congress are controlled by allies President Rodrigo Duterte, whose administration has been pressing for the quick passage of the bill. On Monday, Duterte sent a letter to the Speaker certifying the bill as “urgent”.

By passing a bill identical to the one approved by the Senate, members of the House of Representatives skirt a longer process of reconciling the two versions and cutting the time to debate and question the merits of the law.

Among the most contentious provisions include the warrantless arrest and 14-day detentions of suspected “terrorists”, and the creation of an anti-terror council that would determine what is terrorism and order arrests without a warrant – a function usually reserved for the courts.

Read full story @www.aljazeera.com

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[Statement] Philippines: Proposed Anti-Terrorism Law will solidify abuse of State power -Forum-Asia

Philippines: Proposed Anti-Terrorism Law will solidify abuse of State power

(Bangkok, 2 June 2020) – The railroading of the Anti-Terrorism Bill in the Philippines will further erode human rights in the country, rights groups said today.

The Asian Forum of Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) and its member organisations Balaod Mindanaw, Dakila, Karapatan, LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights), Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) warned that the proposed law would lead to a crackdown on civic space and fundamental freedoms.

‘We have seen the systematic intimidation of civil society, from human rights organisations to journalists and the general public under the Duterte regime. The Anti-Terrorism Bill would institutionalise and facilitate abuse of power, leading the weaponisation of the law against its people,’ the groups said.

On 1 June, President Rodrigo Duterte certified House Bill 6875 or the Anti-Terrorism Bill as urgent, which would allow the House of Representatives to fast-track its approval.[1] The bill is expected to be passed before Congress adjourns on 5 June. The House of Representatives had earlier adopted the Senate version of the bill, approved in February 2020, to facilitate its passage into law.

The proposed anti-terror law contains provisions that effectively erode civil liberties and remove necessary checks in power. Vague language in the bill, including on the definition of terrorism which includes acts committed ‘regardless of the stage of execution’ would allow for broad interpretation and overreach.[2]

The bill allows for a lengthened period of warrantless detention, and surveillance that goes beyond stipulations in existing national security legislation. It would lead to the creation of an Anti-Terrorism Council, comprised of State officials, which would have the power to authorise the arrest and detention of a person suspected of being a terrorist – a power reserved for the Courts.

Under Duterte’s administration, repressive laws and policies have been used as tools of intimidation and reprisals against human rights defenders and critics. Executive Order No. 70, adopted in 2018, led to the consolidation of the country’s agencies towards a whole-of-nation approach against national insurgency. This policy was used to justify surveillance activities and raids against organisations accused of being communist fronts.[3]

Citing ‘national security’, State officials have regularly released lists tagging human rights defenders, including United Nations Special Rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, as terrorists. FORUM-ASIA’s members Karapatan, PAHRA, and TFDP have also been labeled as terrorists for speaking out against human rights violations in the country. These accusations threaten their security and compromise the ability to conduct their work.

The administration has used existing legislation, including on cyber-libel and sedition to target critics, while pushing for new laws that dismantle Constitutional guarantees and stifle dissent. The recently introduced Bayanihan to Heal as One Act included a ‘fake news’ provision which has been used to arrest individuals posting online criticism of the government’s response to the pandemic.

‘Fast-tracking the Anti-Terrorism Bill at a time when the country is grappling with the effects of a public health emergency demonstrates a complete disregard for any trust the public has placed in its Government. Members of the Philippine Congress should take a strong stand against this bill and demonstrate that they are capable of upholding democracy and not just the wishes of their President,’ urged the rights groups.

[Joint Statement] Philippines: Proposed Anti-Terrorism Law will solidify abuse of State power

About FORUM-ASIA:

The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) is a regional network of 81 member organisations across 21 Asian countries, with consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and consultative relationship with the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights. Founded in 1991, FORUM-ASIA works to strengthen movements for human rights and sustainable development through research, advocacy, capacity-development and solidarity actions in Asia and beyond. It has sub-regional offices in Geneva, Jakarta, and Kathmandu. http://www.forum-asia.org
For further information, please contact:
East Asia and ASEAN Programme, FORUM-ASIA at ea-asean@forum-asia.org

For media inquiries, please contact:
Yi-Lan, Communication and Media Programme, FORUM-ASIA at communication@forum-asia.org

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[From the web] House Bill No. 78 and Senate Bill No. 1083 – Anti-Poor, Anti-Democracy -PMPI

Hb No. 78 – A Strike Against the Poor

Amid these trying times in our public health situation because of the sudden rise of cases of COVID-19, our lawmakers in the House of Representatives have the temerity to pass in the third and final reading the proposed House Bill No. 78 or the Public Service Act (PSA) of Albay 2 District Rep. Joey Salceda, like a thief in the night.

We, from the Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI), a network of civil society organizations, rights groups, peace, and faith-based institutions believe that HB 78, which seeks to amend the Commonwealth Act of 146, to allow full foreign ownership in telecommunications and transportation is another anti-poor law.

The mere fact that it attempts to remove restrictions on several economic areas is another hit to the labor force and consumers as foreign companies could easily dictate numbers and prices. HB 78 could also put our national security at risk since foreign-owned telecommunication companies could possibly control our strategic business sector.

In our 1987 Constitution under Article XII, Section 11 prohibits full foreign ownership of various businesses and industries. The proposed amendments of HB 78 to the current PSA, will try to outmaneuver the 1987 Constitution by providing a concrete yet the sneaky definition of what ‘public utility’ is, which in effect allows telecommunications and transportation companies to be fully owned by foreigners. This is clearly a violation of the fundamental law of the land.

Lawmakers who are pro-HB 78 reasons out that there is a need for a drastic change in our telecommunications and transportation services, and the proposed bill is trying to attract more foreign direct investments, better competition, economic growth, and even more jobs. Surely these sounds like a sound solution to a problematic service sector. However, HB 78 clearly surrenders the primacy of public interest and diminishes congressional scrutiny over these critical regulated sectors. Such an act that gives too much immunity to foreign capitalists could lead us into a pit instead of real comfort.

Anti-Terrorism Act – an outright assault to democracy

Another measure seeking to give more teeth to the Human Security Act of 2007 is Senate Bill No. 1083 or Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 passed in the Senate last March 3.

Still not content at the rate where several democratic institutions have shrunk and have been controlled by the ruling political party headed by the President, the anti-terrorism act will further try to constrict people’s freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, association, liberty, and movement as well as the right to privacy.

Read full article @www.pmpi.org.ph

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