The group Liga Independencia Pilipinas (LIPI) on Sunday reiterated their support to the Anti-Terrorism Act, which is facing several petitions against it at the Supreme Court.
“The Anti-Terrorism Law is of paramount importance to our national security as the nation endured decades of violent extremism perpetrated by the Communist Party of the Philippines, its armed and legal fronts causing the destruction of billions-worth of businesses and properties, killings of innocent people, kidnappings, radicalization of our youth, illegal taxation, and other crimes,” said Jose Antonio “Ka Pep” Goitia, LIPI Secretary General, in a statement.
Goitia also said that Mindanao “is now a mecca of transnational terrorism in Southeast Asia,” that ISIS has claimed the islands of Southern Philippines as its East Asia province, and turned the place “into a bootcamp co-opting locals to join their cause.”
The goal of this Islamist network, he said, “is to establish a hardline, fundamentalist Caliphate in several Southeast Asian countries” that includes Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, the southern Malay province of Thailand and Mindanao.
ISIS was responsible for the siege of Marawi, leaving more than 180 government soldiers dead and thousands injured. The city was reduced to rubble and countless citizens of the city were displaced, Goitia noted.
“Over the years, radical Islamist groups and Islamist separatist forces in the Philippines have carried out over 40 major bombings against civilians and civilian property, mostly in the southern regions of the country around Mindanao, Basilan, Jolo and other nearby islands,” he said.
“Isn’t this enough proof to justify the policy?” the LIPI secretary-general added.
To negate the importance of this landmark law, Goitia said, “is an insult to all Filipinos.”
Various opposition groups had been manufacturing “false narratives in their respective echo chambers, claiming this will escalate human rights abuses such as stifling dissent, prosecute political opponents, and totally disregard individual rights of people,” he said.
LIPI, however, believes the claims against the Anti-Terrorism Act or Republic Act 11479 are “preposterous and unsubstantiated.”
“The law is only being used by the opposition as a tool to undermine the Duterte administration for them to consolidate their power base and plunge this country into an abyss of hate and chaos,” Goitia said.
He noted that the declaration of policy of the law states: “It is the 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 to welfare of the people, and to make terrorism a crime against humanity and against The Law of Nations. The State shall uphold the basic rights and fundamental liberties of the people as enshrined in the Constitution.”
Section 25 of the ATA adopted the consolidated List of terrorist individuals, groups of persons and organizations or associations under the United Nations Security Council Resolution No. 1373, Goitia said.
It further states the Anti-Terrorism Council or ATC “may designate any of these persons or groups upon finding of probable cause that any are involved in organizing, associating, committing to attempting to commit or conspire in the commission of the acts as defined and penalized under this Act.”
The LIPI official said the law protects the rights of detainees under Section 30, while Section 31 imposes a penalty up to ten years on any enforcement agent or military personnel who violated the rights of persons under their custody.
Even one of the most credible and respected international news agency’s analysis of the law is correct, said Goitia.
“The bill exempts advocacy, protest, dissent, stoppage of work, industrial or mass action, other similar exercises of civil and political rights, which are not intended to cause death or serious physical harm to a person, to endanger a person’s life, or to create a serious risk to public safety,” he said.
“Liga Independencia Pilipinas is a staunch supporter of the Anti-Terrorism Law. From the creation of the bill until it was passed, LIPI had been aggressively promoting the advantages of the law in relation to our national security,” the group said. (JOG)