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3 Jul 2020

Pia Ranada, Rappler

Philippines: President signs controversial anti-terror bill into law, giving govt. more room to act against critics & opponents

"Duterte signs 'dangerous' anti-terror bill into law", 03 Jul 2020

In the middle of the coronavirus health crisis, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law a bill giving the government more powers to act against persons or groups falling under what critics say is a dangerous and vague definition of terrorism. This was announced by Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Friday, July 3, in a message to reporters. It was also confirmed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to Rappler.... Duterte signed the bill into law despite...  legal minds pointing out "strong cautionary comments"... said an official source... The new measure had been met by intense opposition from several sectors when Duterte certified the bill as urgent and as the House of Representatives deliberated the controversial measure... An advocacy of many retired generals, the proposed measure gained momentum during the Duterte administration... Why dangerous? With Duterte's signature, the measure is now a full-fledged law that will become effective 15 days after its publication in newspapers with nationwide circulation.... This means the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC), composed of Duterte Cabinet officials, will have the power to initiate actions against more people... and arrest them even without warrants... "The anti-terrorism law will give a green light to the systematic targeting of political critics and opponents, as well as ordinary Filipinos who dare to speak out"... HRW...said.