Progressive groups in Cebu to lawmakers: Withdraw support on Anti-Terror Bill
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cause-oriented groups in Cebu slammed the enactment of the Anti-Terror Bill, and called on Cebuano lawmakers to withdraw their support on the proposal.
In a statement issued to the media, Alyansa sa mga Mamumuo sa Sugbo-Kilusang Mayo Uno (AMA Sugbo-KMU) chairperson Jaime Paglinawan said the passage of the Anti-Terror Bill would lead to violent dispersals and suppression of unionists.
“Union busting and violent dispersals of protests and strikes are prevalent in the Philippines. With the approval of the Anti-Terrorism Bill on the third reading and thus being one more step closer to becoming a law, it will only worsen these fascist attacks against unionists,” said Paglinawan.
The group said uncertainty in the Anti-Terror Bill’s definition of a “terrorist” poses as a threat to anyone or any group planning to express their grievances towards the government.
“The ATB (Anti-Terror Bill) violates Section 4 of the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, which protects free speech, press freedom, and the right to organize. It also violates Section 18, which protects the Filipino people from being detained solely for their political beliefs,” they said.
Anakbayan-Cebu, a youth-oriented group, also opposed the passage of the Anti-Terror Bill.
“The Anti-Terrorism Bill is nothing more than a Terror Bill against all peace-loving and democratic people who are only and justly fighting for their rights,” Anakbayan-Cebu chairperson Cyan Rom said in a separate statement sent to members of the media.
Paglinawan also urged Cebuano lawmakers to withdraw their support on the bill, adding that it could spell the end of all workers’ rights including their proposals to end contractualization and the P750 national minimum wage.
“Now is not the time for us to cower. This bill is a clear violation of our constitutional rights. Our duty now is to fight against this state terrorism, which will only bring down state-sanctioned violence on the people,” he said.
“The right to organize is enshrined in our Constitution. The right to unionize is further protected by our country’s Labor Code. They have no right to weaponize our laws against us like this,” he added.
On Wednesday, the Anti-Terror Bill received approval from the two houses in Congress, and now only needs the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte who regarded it as “urgent.”
According to the bill, it penalizes anyone who proposes, incites, conspires, participates in the planning, training, preparation, and facilitation of a terrorist act; as well as those who will provide material support to terrorists, and recruit members in a terrorist organization.
It added that any person who shall threaten to commit terrorism, and those who will propose any terroristic acts or incite others to commit terrorism shall suffer the penalty of 12 years in prison. /bmjo
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