DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Progressive groups called on the public, on Monday, to defend human rights and resist the rising tyranny that is now engulfing the country under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The call was raised in the midst of the so-called railroading of the amendments to Republic Act 9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007 in the House of Representatives.
Progressive activists belonging to Anakpawis party-list, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and Amihan staged a rally in front of the House of Representatives on Monday to condemn the move that is being pushed in the lower house staged by the committees on Public Safety and Order and the National Defense and Security.
“These draconian bills have a grave impact on the state of our human rights which today is already under attack from all sorts of ‘Oplans’ hatched by the Duterte government. They have Oplan Kapayapaan, Tokhang, and Oplan Rody. The entire Filipino people should reject these bills for they are added fangs to a rising tyranny. They are weapons of mass destruction of our human rights,” Anakpawis Rep. Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao said during the protest.
Casilao also condemned the deliberate push to pass the two amendatory bills by promptly forming a technical working group after just two hearings that were attended only by the representatives of the state security forces and none from the human rights community.
The Makabayan solon expressed the belief that House Bills 5507 and 7141 will seek to resurrect the original anti-terror bill that was introduced during the administration of former president Gloria Arroyo.
Human rights allies of the Makabayan Bloc in Congress successfully chopped down some of the provisions of the anti-terror bill, Casilao said.
He added that the two pending bills in the lower house will seek to remove the safeguards and criminalize mere membership or intent to become a member of any organization proscribed by courts and the UN Security Council.
It will also empower state security forces to conduct surveillance without limitations and restrictions, freeze accounts, seize assets and detain terror suspects without worrying about liabilities that come from abuse and violations of human rights.
“We treat these proposed bills as another step towards a dictatorship. Just recently, the Supreme Court already thumbed down the appeal of CJ Sereno to reverse its ruling that ousted her through a quo warranto, making the three branches of the government literally under the executive power,” the lawmaker said.
He added that the people should rise up and oppose such draconian measures which will only serve human rights violators and abusive government officials.
Meanwhile, in a separate statement, KMP said the proposed amendments being pushed by Congress will only make worse an already bad law and that the Human Security Act must be junked.
“These bills promote Duterte’s brand of tyranny. These bills are extremely dangerous and pose a threat to the people’s democratic and civil rights. It will broaden and expand so-called ‘acts of terrorism’ and will broaden the powers of law enforcement authorities,” Antonio Flores, KMP secretary general said.
The peasant group also emphasized that the proposed laws are dangerous because it will allow for the proscription of individuals and organizations as terrorists and seizure of assets without trial; criminalization of mere membership or intended membership in proscribed organizations; remove safeguards against abuse of surveillance powers granted to law enforcement officials; remove safeguards against abuse of prisoners while in detention; extend the period of detention without charges under certain circumstances from three days to 30 days; and introduce restrictions on free expression.
“Critics of Duterte and the government can be targets of these proposed laws,” Flores added.
The also called on civil libertarians and the freedom and democracy-loving Filipinos to oppose the said bills. (davaotoday.com)