Kabataan Partylist furthers the call for mass testing, in this time of fear and tyranny.
With the passage of the Anti-Terror Law, Duterte’s administration continues in its failure to address the immediate concerns of the people. For months, the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged our country; with cases increasing by the day, and with the lack of any government action in attempting to remedy its fast rise in the country, it is clear that this government is doing more harm than the disease itself.
The Duterte Administration has exerted a lot of effort in propagating its leviathan-rule to the people. In attempting to instill fear in the hearts and minds of the people, it has only given the people more reason to dissent and condemn its threats and attacks to our lives and liberties.
As the people have become more vocal in this government’s incompetence, the first thing this government did is immediately strike at our right to freedom of expression. It has continued to attack media giants such as ABS-CBN and Rappler, thereby attempting to strip away our press freedom. There have been threats of state forces monitoring posts critical of this government, clearly threatening our free speech in the internet. State forces and institutions have also been at the forefront of accusing progressive individuals and organizations as legal fronts of communist and terrorist groups, clearly undermining the people’s freedom to associate. Arrests and attacks have also occurred in peaceful protests and assemblies, ultimately violating the people’s right to peaceably assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances.
It is also noteworthy that such attacks have been extensive even prior to the passage of the Anti-Terror Law; now that it is one, threats and abuses committed by the state could only be expected to intensify. Upon mere suspicion by the Anti-Terror Council, which is made up completely of Duterte’s militaristic cabinet, critical individuals and members of progressive organizations can be freely tagged as terrorists and be put under surveillance and also be arrested without a warrant. Detention can last up until 24 days. And other acts, such as speaking or discussing with other people and even protesting can be viewed as terrorism by this State. Clearly, these enumerated powers granted to the State by law is too overbroad and encroaches upon our rights protected by the Constitution. This Anti-Terror Law must not stand.
In our calls to junk the Anti-Terror Law, we must also increase our calls for mass testing and aid. We must further our calls to uphold our national sovereignty from foreign aggression. We must intensify our calls to end state fascism.
As this government heightens its insensitivity and incompetence in handling the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, it is our duty as the people to heighten our calls for free and systemic mass testing for affected communities. To this we call for mass testing now! We call to junk the draconian anti-terror law!