President Duterte has not yet signed the Anti-Terror Bill into law. However, under Article VI, Section 27, if the President does not sign or veto a pending bill into law within thirty (30) days, “it shall become a law as if he had signed it.”
With only twelve (12) days before the 30th day after the Anti-Terror Bill was sent to the President from Congress, the looming threat of a statutory dictatorship is soon upon us. Duterte’s inaction on the Bill isn’t one thing to be overjoyed about, similar to his treatment of COVID-19 in the country. And like the way he is mishandling the pandemic in the country, his fascist agenda continues to grow, and attacks against the people have only intensified.
Even prior to the Bill being signed by Congress, mass arrests, harassments, and even killings have been perpetrated by the Government against all those critical against it. Attacks on the right to life and liberty and our freedom of expression has only worsened the moment emergency powers were granted to Duterte.
And with the Bill now pending with Duterte, state-backed threats have been more relentless in its pursuit. Various Facebook pages of Police Stations have been spreading black propaganda of various mass organizations, individuals, and party-list groups, claiming that they are the legal front of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army. The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and the National Youth Commission (NYC) have been mobilizing like war dogs and continue to blasts non-sensical tirades against the mass movement, claiming that those involved are “terrorists.”
And only in a span of hours, 20 Pride Protestors were arbitrarily arrested and abused in Manila, 7 Lumads were arrested on trumped up charges, and the Police continue to threaten our jeepney drivers who only ask for aid and relief.
If there’s anyone committing acts of terror to civilians, it is no other than the Duterte Administration. By using a threat as grave as terrorism to further push for its fascist agendas, the Duterte Administration only seeks to instill fear among the populace.
Various provisions of the Anti-Terror Bill too have been noted as unconstitutional because it violates the Bill of Rights enshrined in our Constitution. Hence, all legal remedies shall be sought to have these provisions declared unconstitutional.
Yet junking the Anti-Terror Bill is not the end against the struggle against this oppressive regime. We call on the youth to further unite for the greater good and continue to mobilize to hold this government accountable for all its misdeeds. It is not only our right to hold our government accountable, but it is our duty, as freedom-loving citizens to suppress any form of tyranny and dictatorship brewing in the country. It is time to rise together and tell this government that we will not bow nor bend to fear. Let our nationalistic and patriotic spirits be unbroken, let us fight for a free, progressive, and democratic country!