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What does Duterte's "anti-terror bill" mean for the country?
Original question. “What do you think about President Duterte's Anti-terrorism Bill?” I find it dangerous and for now, unnecessary. On the other hand, however, a lot of people are overexaggerating some of its provisions. No matter how you might hate the government, don't use emotions lest you fail to see both the benefits and drawbacks of the bill. First, read the draft. Below is an excerpt of an Inquirer article listing down some of its provisions, on which I agree. The bill penalizes those who will propose, incite, conspire, participate in the planning, training, preparation, and facilitation of a terrorist act; as well as those who will provide material support to terrorists, and recruit members in a terrorist organization. According to the bill, any person who shall threaten to commit terrorism, and those who will propose any terroristic acts or incite others to commit terrorism shall suffer the penalty of 12 years. Any person who shall voluntarily and knowingly join any organization, association or group of persons knowing that such is a terrorist organization, shall likewise suffer imprisonment of 12 years. The same penalty shall be imposed on any person found liable as an accessory in the commission of terrorism. Meanwhile, those who will be proven guilty of engaging in a conspiracy to commit terrorism shall be penalized by life imprisonment without the benefit of parole. Clear as day. Only terrorists should be afraid by it. Besides, I abhor the acts of these guys. Especially the communists, t do nothing but cause chaos, ambush soldiers, recruit college students to fight against the government, destroy private property and extort "revolutionary taxes". While I do understand what t are fighting for, it doesn't mean we should tolerate their violence. However, I do have two issues about the bill. One, the bill likewise authorizes the warrantless detainment of a "terror suspect" for a maximum of twenty-four days. The question is, when does someone become a "terror suspect"? I'm no expert at law, but I'm not sure whether t fall under the above provisions or t can be anyone who poses any degree of threat against the government. If the latter applies, it is a slippery slope because anyone who viciously criticizes the government, regardless of merit, might be labeled a "potential terrorist". To allay the fears of the public, the Palace must clarify this part. Note that many of the bill's provisions are similar to those of Singapore's Internal Security Act. But we are no Singapore in terms of incorruptibility. So, the potential for its abuse is extremely high. Two, is there an imminent threat of massive terrorist attacks to be committed against civilian life and property that the Armed Forces would be easily overwhelmed? Because if there is none, I don't see the need for the bill to have been certified as urgent by Duterte. There are far more pressing concerns to attend to, one of which is how to prevent the second wave of the COVID outbreak. Until I have the answers for both, I won't support the bill.
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