We, members of the Environmental Defenders Congress oppose the railroading of the Anti-Terror Bill titled “An Act to Prevent, Prohibit and Penalize Terrorism, thereby Repealing Republic Act No. 9372, Otherwise Known as the Human Security Act.” The bill when passed will worsen the situation of environment and human rights defenders in the country.
The vague and overbroad definition of terrorists in the bill can be easily used against anyone who opposes environmentally destructive projects and activities. Red-tagging, a vicious tool being used now by the government as a pretext for harassment, intimidation, arrests and killings of environmental defenders, will become commonplace.
The Anti-Terror Bill also violates due process by giving power to the government’s Anti-Terrorism Council to unilaterally and arbitrarily allow wiretapping and surveillance, warrantless arrests and detention without charges for 14-42 days.
In addition, the bill that has nothing to do with any of the dire needs of Filipinos during the time of the pandemic, such as health care, mass testing and contact tracing, food and livelihood support, is being rushed from the mere whim of the Duterte administration. Instead of focusing on curbing the rising COVID-19 cases and assuaging the growing unrest of the people, it has opted to face them with an iron fist, for no rhyme or reason.
Given the track record of the government on human rights as seen in the drug war, counter-insurgency operations and the repression of citizens during the lockdown, we can see that this policy is a grave threat to all citizens in general. It will curtail our freedom of expression, organization and public participation.
We are calling on all freedom-loving legislators as well as all Filipinos, desiring for a better environment and future for the country to stand up for people’s rights and stop this repressive bill.
Show your opposition by signing the petition here https://world.350.org/philippines/junk-the-anti-terror-bill/