That the government of the Philippines wants to strengthen its legislation and its power to contain and control terrorists makes sense. Especially with the recent insurgency in Marawi in Mindanao and the Red Brigade there. The Government is within its right to extend its powers, ensure safety of its territory and rules to stop future insurgencies and terror attacks on the Filipino Nation. That is all understandable, however, they should still consider the implications and what a new law does to freedom of expression, liberty and justice for all. That it doesn’t come in conflict with these ideals.
Some of the things that is striking out in this new anti-terrorist law is that it will create a new legal instrument, a new precedence, where appointed top cabinet officials will have the opportunity to participate and issue arrest orders through the Anti-Terror Council (ATC). Meaning, it is lawmakers and technocrats who are finding whose deemed fit for becoming terror suspect and whose associated with terrorist. This is not done by detective or intelligence officers, no, but appointed cronies of the state. That is worrying enough itself.
That the law also stretches the ability to keep people arrested without warrants and eases the means of wire-tapping, surveillance and such. It is surely done in a sense of safeguarding the public, but at the same time. If the ATC somehow deems someone randomly, they can easily arrest someone in the name of terror, allegedly say they are terrorist without a trial keep someone in custody for about 14 days with a possibility of a 10 day extension.
If a person is really unlucky, let’s say a journalist or an activists. Whose suddenly posting a press release or statement from a questionable organization. That the ATC might deem as Terrorist. Than, the person might be charged with 12 years in prison for helping to distribute illegal material and promoting the organization. Even if the intent was only to inform the public and not get people to participate in terrorism. That is what is also dangerous about this law.
It opens up to wormholes like this and it depends on the powers at the ATC and the agencies of the Philippines to set it out and in order. The ideals are good, the steps are positives, we all should strive to combat and defeat terrorism, in all sorts and fashion. That is fine and dandy. However, this legislation is stretching things far and makes it possible to arrest someone on the hunch and on a limb. When, they might was just posting some random tweets or random Facebook posts. They were not doing it malice or with intent to incite terror, but it was from the wrong group. Therefore, they could get into trouble.
That is my worry here. Many parts of the law is reasonable and makes sense. As a sovereign and as a state, you want to have the ability to surveillance and to gather evidence of possible people who wants to commit these sorts of activities. However, when this law is make it so broad and gives huge powers to Council not made-up of intelligence officers nor law enforcement. That opens up the gates for possible political mind-games, where the political enemies becomes terrorists. Even if the only thing they do is to buy rice and flowers for the people of their Barangay.
I hope this get dealt with positively, but this is passing all parts of the Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate has all agreed upon the articles. It only need the Presidential signature and seal before becoming law. That is why the ATC and whose getting there is important. Because, they will become the Terrorist Hunters and the ones deciding the fate of people. They will be vital in this and have the last word in a way. Peace.
Dear Honorable Sir, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte!
The reason why I write you, is because your misconception. Let me first allow you and say to you. Your allowed to say anything between the moon, the stars and the deepest sea-bed of the kingdom I reside in. President Duterte you can call Norway by all names of the book, say anything you want about us or Our Prime Minister, about our traditions and even our strict-rules foreign workers to get visa. Please, talk about it. I have no trouble with it. It is a good thing to be questioned and get criticism from afar, from someone looking in and questioning our possible misgivings. We have loads of mistakes and things that is not working in Norway. Therefore, please address if you may, especially if you ever come to visit here, when you might resume the peace-talks with the red-army in Mindanao. Please, talk about our ways and politics. Feel free, Mr. President!
Now, that I have allowed you to do that, let me look into one of your statements, that Rappler has reported today!
“DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Critics are welcome to say all they want about his governance, but President Rodrigo Duterte said they have to make sure they’re not foreigners in his country. “Every Filipino is entitled to criticize me as a matter of right. Okay sa akin ‘yan (That is fine with me), but certainly not a foreigner, however holy you are. I will not allow [you] to do it in my country,” Duterte said in his speech on Saturday, July 7, at the inauguration of Malayan Colleges Mindanao in Davao City. He added, “After all, we’re not supposed to do it in your country.“” (Basa, 2018)
I don’t why your so bitter, so sour, and don’t know if foreigners ever hurt your pride and your vision. I understand that your battling belittling aid and donor loans, that trigger the Republic and the ways it has maneuver to get the grants and donations, where your state would be monitored and muffled with to get donations from abroad. That I get and that is more damaging, than even development. Where the donations would belittle you and your administration. That I respect and understand. But this here, I don’t get.
Why can they not question the government and say something about it? Why can’t I? I know I am not a citizen of the wonderful island republic of the Philippines. However, if there are misgivings, an outsider might have the balls to say it, while the insider might be afraid to lose the job or even not get hired again. Have you considered that? Did that cross your mind?
If a Filipino might address you wrong or even cross you badly, you might re-appoint someone else or even revoke their licenses? What about that then? You don’t have the same power over the foreign nationals inside the Republic. That also comes with the power of the state and the diplomatic disputes it might create. You got criticism for the sudden detention of the Australian Nun. That was to be expected, no matter she has done or what she hasn’t done. If she has broken the codes of entry or broken codes of law. It would be fine, but if she just was a vocal human being, then it is wrong.
So as I stated, President Duterte. Please say all the wrongs about Europe or Norway, as much as you please. Please call it out and call us ice-cold Vikings, who isn’t treating Filipino foreign workers well. Say it and than the diplomat’s can address it. We can carry it, but we hope you could extend the hand. Let people like me address you and understand why I do it.
It is healthy to have a conversation, to have people who looks with another view and with another perspective, than the narrative and the possible outcome might be better. The different views and the enriched discussion might lead to something fruitful and also give it another direction. Instead of being ignorant.
So, Please Mr. President do it in my country, if your ever has the chance, because it is healthy. We need conversations and perspectives to broaden our insights to life.
Writer of Minbane
Basa, Mick – ‘Duterte says he welcomes criticism, but not from foreigners in PH’ (07.07.2018) link: https://www.rappler.com/nation/206730-duterte-criticism-foreigners-philippines?utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1530968818