The anti-terrorism act: Recipe for undeclared martial law

Jun. 14, 2007

by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)

Welcome to the dark ages.

On February 8, voting 16-2, the Senate passed on final reading the Anti-Terrorism Act, euphemistically titled, the Human Security Act of 2007. A day after, the bicameral conference committee of both Houses of Congress adopted the Senate version in full. Eventually, both the Senate and the Lower House ratified the bicameral report in a two-day special session called for by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In a matter of days, on March 6, 2007, Arroyo signed the bill into law. The bill was passed into law ahead of other more important and urgent pieces of legislation such as the P125 wage increase, the compensation bill for Marcos human rights victims and the bill allowing cheaper medicines.

Contrary to statements by opposition senators who initially fought the bill but eventually voted in favor of it, the new law is not toothless. It is replete with provisions that violate fundamental civil, political and human rights found in the Bill of Rights of the Philippine Constitution and in international human rights and humanitarian law conventions.

Prior to the signing of the Anti-Terror Act, the US-Arroyo regime has already unleashed the military, paramilitary and police forces on the people and spurred them to commit the most despicable human rights violations and even crimes against humanity including massacres, assassinations, abductions, illegal detention and torture and the displacement of people from their homes and land with the use of armed force.

Such atrocities are clearly in line with the regimes counter-insurgency program called Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) I and II that is based on the regimes boast of defeating the armed revolutionary movement led by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) by the end of its term in 2010.

The Human Security Act provides the legal teeth long sought by the military and police forces in committing with impunity acts of state terrorism.

The main objective of the Act is to further suppress the people’s movement for national liberation and democracy and the broad range of forces opposing the US-Arroyo regime including the opposition, dissenters and the independent media, even without resorting to a declaration of martial law.

comments powered by Disqus