MANILA – There are enough safeguards in House Bill No. 6875 or “The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020” to shield citizens against abuse and violation of their fundamental rights, Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara said.
In a statement on Friday, Bichara, who also serves as chairperson of the Regional Peace and Order Council in Region V, said the group supports the passing of the bill, which seeks to repeal Republic Act 9372 or “The Human Security Act of 2007”, currently awaiting President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature before it is passed into law.
“The bill provides enough safeguard against abuse and protection of the fundamental rights of the people for implementation by the national government agencies and offices concerned,” Bichara said.
In light of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, he said tighter laws are needed to deter terrorists and other radical elements and allow more focus on food security, essential services, and new jobs that would help address the current economic slowdown.
“We cannot afford terrorism in the midst of getting back to our feet. Extortions, arsons, kidnapping or hostage-taking, executions, and bombings or threats thereof perpetuated by terrorists will surely derail our moves towards peace and development,” Bichara said.
He said infrastructure and a climate “conducive for business and private sector participation” should also be in place to help the Bicol Region get back on its feet during the country’s “new normal”.
“In this light, we need tougher laws against terrorists and those who abet or support them,” Bichara said.
If President Rodrigo Duterte will not take any action on the bill, it will automatically lapse into law after 30 days from June 9, the day the House of Representatives approved and sent the bill to Malacañang.
According to Section 2 of the anti-terror bill, it is a policy of the State to “protect life, liberty, and property from terrorism, to condemn terrorism as inimical and dangerous to the national security of the country and the welfare of the people, and to make terrorism a crime against the Filipino people, against humanity, and The Law of Nations”.
It added that in implementation of the said policy, the State “shall uphold the basic rights and fundamental liberties of the people as enshrined in the Constitution”. (PNA)