Hawaii Activists Call for Philippines’ Anti-Terrorism Act 2020 to Be Scrapped

(Photo by Mark Lester Ranchez)

Hawaii activists came together at the Philippine Consulate in Hawaii to oppose the Philippines’ Anti-Terror Bill. The Hawai’i Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (HICHRP), Anakbayan Hawai’i, Laing Hawai’i, Decolonial Pin@ys in Hawai’i, and the Cancel RIMPAC Coalition joined at the Consulate in solidarity for a Global Day of Action To Junk the Anti-Terror Bill.

HICHRP listed in a press release 5 facts about the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020:

  • It expands the definition of terrorism to include acts intended to cause “death or serious bodily injury to any person,” “extensive damage and destruction” to a government facility, private property or critical infrastructure and when the purpose of those acts is to “intimidate [the] general public,” “create an atmosphere or message of fear,” or “seriously destabilize or destroy the fundamental political, economic and social structures of the country.” Those found guilty face life sentences without the chance of parole.
  • The act also bans “speeches, proclamations, writings, banners and emblems” that may undermine the government’s work. This means that even netizens sharing memes could fall under this bill.
  • The Philippine Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has said that the vagueness of the bill makes it open for abuse and the provision that allows law enforcement or military agents to detain arrested suspects for 14 days, or up to 24 days if warranted by a court is unconstitutional.
  • The act also erodes the ability of several constitutional mechanisms and institutions, including the judiciary, to protect basic human rights in the country. The law will be enforced by the President-appointed Anti-Terrorism Council without any oversight or intervention from the judicial branch of government.
  • This law will go into effect with or without the president’s sign off on July 9, 2020.

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