While communities, especially the most vulnerable ones, grapple with the double threat of the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis, the Philippine government is fast-tracking a bill that undermines constitutionally protected rights to political expression and dissent by equating activism with terrorist activities.
I believe this is not the right time to pass a bill that could hinder citizens from speaking out. Activism plays a crucial role in empowering you and me to demand accountability from our elected leaders.
The draft law uses an overbroad definition of terrorism – a cause for alarm for the civil society community in the Philippines as those could intensify the climate of government oppression across the country.
#JunkTerrorBill This provides a 60 to 90 day-wire tapping period, and warrantless arrest, detention up to 30 days of suspected terrorists. It has no safeguards for the protection of human rights, redress of grievances. This can be weaponized to silence critics, suppress dissent.
— Sarah Elago (@sarahelago) May 29, 2020
We need to remind our district representatives in the 18th Congress that we remain focused on prioritizing policies that aim to strengthen our communities through crucial healthcare measures like mass testing, contact tracing, and providing social protection to the most vulnerable.
— jenny tuazon (@jennytuazn) June 4, 2020
Advocates, community organizers, and development workers should be able to work without fear of harm because our democracy relies on empowered citizens to assert our rights and demand accountability from the government.