The new Anti-Terrorism Law will address flaws in the Human Security Act of 2007, according to Malacañang, as it maintained the Duterte administration’s stand to combat terrorism while ensuring human rights.
In a statement, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar over the weekend said the newly signed Republic Act (RA) 11479 or the “Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020” would enable the government to implement tougher measures against terrorism.
“We support President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to further affirm the administration’s proactive campaign against terrorism by signing into law the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
With the law, a more discerning mechanism is in place to prevent and deter the threats and dangers posed by terrorists to the Filipino people,” Andanar added.
“The new legislation addresses flaws in the Human Security Act of 2007, which served as a dead letter law and was severely underutilized, and helps advance our country’s national security interests,” he said.
RA 11479 effectively repeals the Human Security Act of 2007, supposedly to further boost the government’s policies against terror acts.
“As the Philippines is heavily afflicted by terrorism, as reflected in its ranking in the Global
Terrorism Index of 2019, the Duterte administration stands with a firm position of undertaking stricter measures against terrorists, including foreign ones, while maintaining the respect for human rights as we have ensured safeguards against abuse,” he added.
The law that Duterte signed on Friday would be imposed on July 18, or 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette.
Under the new law, people who are part of planning and training for the commission of terrorism will face life imprisonment without the benefit of parole and the benefits provided under RA 10592 or the “Good Conduct Time Allowance Law.”
RA 11479 warns that any person who threatens to commit terror acts will suffer the penalty of 12-year imprisonment.
It states that people who propose to commit or join terror acts will be jailed for 12 years.
Advocacy, protest, dissent, stoppage of work, industrial or mass action and other similar exercises of civil and political rights not intended to cause death or serious physical harm to a person or to create a serious risk to public safety are not considered terror acts, according to RA 11479.
The new law also ensures that the use of torture and other “cruel, inhumane and degrading” treatment or punishment against detained suspected terrorists is “absolutely prohibited.”
Andanar assured that the Presidential Communications Operations Office would cooperate with and support all relevant agencies in addressing the issue of terrorism while adhering to human rights and rule of law.
“Let us all work together to defeat terrorism and fulfill the President’s vision of a safe and secure, terrorism-free Philippines,” the Palace official said.
Andanar’s assurance was echoed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Saturday, saying there would be no abuses on its part after the anti-terror bill became law.
According to the PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, the police would uphold all institutional mechanisms to prevent the abuses.
“The PNP assures that it will not be abused and we shall faithfully uphold all institutional mechanisms that provide safeguards to its implementation,” Banac said in a message.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año backed the statement of the PNP, also assuring the public that no abuses would be committed bygovernment forces.
According to Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman, they welcome the law as it “capacitates government security forces” and “[w]e now have a powerful statute that provides law enforcement agencies the legal wherewithal to protect and defend our people.”
Meanwhile, based on a report from the Department of the Interior and Local Government, over 4,000 former rebels and militiamen received a total of P304.43 million in financial and other assistance for the past three years through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-Clip).
According to Año, many of the rebels and the militiamen went down from the mountains during the enhanced community quarantine.
The E-Clip provides each qualified rebel surrenderer with immediate financial assistance of P15,000, livelihood assistance of P50,000 and reintegration assistance of P21,000.
Also, firearms remuneration is also given for each surrendered firearm, Año said.
Of the total amount of assistance, P58.845 million was in the form of immediate assistance to 3,923 former rebels (FRs); P121.250 million, livelihood assistance to 2,426 FRs; P57.217 million, firearms remuneration of 858 FRs; and P67.11 million, reintegration assistance to 3,196 FRs.
With reports from JAN ARCILLA, DARWIN PESCO AND JAVIER JOE ISMAEL