Interior Secretary Eduardo Año announced to reporters this July 3 that President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the anti-terror bill into law. The bill grants the government more powers in its campaign against terrorism.
The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 builds on the Human Security Act of 2007 by criminalizing the incitement of terrorism “by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, banners, or other representations.”
Among some of its provisions includes the chargeless detention of suspects for up to 24 days and the surveillance of a suspected terrorist for up to 60 days. It also authorizes an anti-terrorism council to designate individuals or groups as suspects of terrorism.
The signing of the bill into law follows protests and criticism from the public of the bill’s “broad and vague” definition of ‘terrorism’. Lawyers and human rights groups are particularly concerned with the bill’s possible hindrance to free speech.
Government officials cite the threat of terror groups in the Philippines as justification for the law.
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