CABIAO, Nueva Ecija – Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy said the anti-terrorism bill recently approved by the House of Representatives is one of the “lightest” in the world.
“The anti-terrorism law has very clear safeguards against abuses,” Badoy said during a meeting with local media organizations and local government officials here on Saturday.
Badoy, who joined PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar and Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) chief Joel Sy Egco, said the bill’s provision on 14-day warrantless detention is vital in running after the suspected terrorists.
“Pero kailangan yun, kasi kunwari hot pursuit, makakahanap ka ba ng judge para bigyan ka ng warrant? (But it is needed. For example, in hot pursuit, can you look for judge to issue warrant of arrest?),” she said.
Badoy said no law is perfect but the citizens should trust the government.
“The people should only be vigilant,” she added.
She assailed alleged disinformation against the proposed measure.
“Yung disinformation about this bill talagang nagkalat siya para takutin at lituhin ang tao tungkol sa anti-terrorism bill (This disinformation about this bill is indeed rampant to scare and confuse the people about the anti-terrorism bill),” Badoy said.
She identified Alter Media as among the alleged organizations of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP NA NDF) that is behind the disinformation campaign.
Andanar, for his part, dismissed claim by the United Nation High Commissioner For Human Rights Concerns about the alleged censorship and curtailment of the freedom of information in the country amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
He said the fact that all comments in social media about the government’s response against Covid-19 have gone viral proves that press freedom, as provided in the Philippine Constitution, is alive.
“Wala namang reporter na nakulong ngayong panahon ng Covid at even before, kaya nga meron tayong Presidential Task Force on Media Security sa pangunguna ni Director Sy Egco (There is no reporter that has been jailed this time of Covid-19 and even before. That is why we have the Presidential Task Force on Media Security headed by Director Sy Egco),” Andanar said.
The PCOO officials also discussed the government’s “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pagasa (BP2) program with Cabiao Mayor Ramil Rivera and Gapan City Mayor Emerson Pascual.
The BP2, promulgated as Executive Order 114, primarily aims to encourage urban dwellers from the provinces, especially informal settlers, to return to their hometowns.
Through the support of various government agencies, the applicants will receive support on transportation, housing, livelihood, education and incentives depending on their needs. (PNA)