June 12, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Reference, Kabataang maka-Bayan (KmB / Pro-People Youth)
KmB (Pro-People Youth) strongly condemns the Anti-Terror Bill of 2020. This bill–which is an expansion on the 2007 Human Security Act–poses a great danger to the civil and human rights of the people of the islands of the Philippines, both at home and abroad, as well as to any activists who speak out against the actions of Rodrigo Duterte and the Philippine government. As the Philippine public expressed dissent on this bill, some House Representatives attempted to change their vote to no avail; it is too late. The bill now sits at the desk of Duterte, waiting to take effect.
The Anti-Terror Bill suspends the writ of habeas corpus and marks people as terrorists without due process; furthermore, it allows for a 24 day detention of anyone who is charged with sedition. This is a dangerous precedent as many who rightfully criticize the government can be arrested and detained without warrants. Under existing law, law enforcement agents who wrongfully detain suspects can be penalized ₱500,000 ($10,000) for each day of detention. However, this safeguard provision against the abuse of authoritarian power is removed from this bill, which then results in zero accountability by the Philippine government. Under merely the accusation of being labeled a terrorist, these combined elements of the bill threaten the constitutional rights of the people, such as the freedom of speech and peaceful assemblies. Activism does not automatically equate to terrorism. By violating these rights, this bill further exacerbates a political climate towards the demise of the people and the rise of a dictatorship.
The bill undoubtedly mirrors the oppressive government tactics once utilized under martial law from 1972 to 1986. We refuse to allow this bill to infringe upon basic civil and human rights. We refuse to allow the victimization of the people at the hands of the state. Today, we stand in solidarity with the people of the islands of the Philippines because, most importantly, we refuse to allow history to repeat itself.