MANILA – The proposed anti-terrorism bill is designed to defeat lawlessness and criminality perpetrated by terrorists and not suppress constitutional rights, Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) Chairperson Secretary Eduardo del Rosario said Monday.
“I join all the peace-loving Filipinos in supporting the passage of the long-delayed anti-terrorism bill. We need this measure yesterday, not today or tomorrow,” del Rosario said in a statement.
Del Rosario, also the housing czar, expressed his support to the enactment of the bill saying it is neither meant to target any specific group nor curtail civil liberties and constitutional rights.
“But deceiving the youth to fight the government is not freedom of expression, and extorting ‘revolutionary tax’ is against the rule of law,” del Rosario said, after various organizations mounted calls to veto the measure.
“Only perpetrators of these venomous activities should be afraid of this bill. For 51 years, they have terrorized our land,” he said.
On the other hand, del Rosario said the signing of the bill will help push peace and development in areas vulnerable to terrorism and insurgencies.
“All of us know how Daesh-inspired terrorists brought Marawi City to ruins and their remnants continue to sow fear and disrupt peace and development in some parts of southern Philippines,” he said. “Just like the communist-terrorists, these militants prey on the youth, who are the future of our nation.”
The passage of the bill, del Rosario added, could help the country avoid the repeat of the Marawi siege, which left the city in ruins and endangered the lives of its residents.
Contrary to the agenda pushed by some organizations, he said the bill “respects freedom of expression and peaceful assembly”.
Del Rosario said the bill could also halt the recruitment, radicalization, and infiltration among the youth, specifically those who live in marginalized communities.
“Once and for all, let us put to stop these insidious and vicious terrorist tactics to finally achieve lasting peace and development we deserve; provide better future to our children and grandchildren,” he said.
He said the measure will restore the lives of individuals from the far-flung communities hard-hit by the armed insurgency conflict.
“To the terrorists, we say your time is up. Let us join hands in defeating violence and terrorism. We need the Anti-Terrorism Bill now, not later,” he added. (PNA)