WATCH: Duterte tells law-abiding citizens not to fear Anti-Terrorism Law
Efigenio Toledo IV, Gaea Katreena Cabico ( - July 8, 2020 - 7:24am

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 8:06 a.m.) — President Rodrigo Duterte, for the first time after signing the Anti-Terrorism Law, addresses the public saying law-abiding citizens should not fear the Anti-Terrorism Law.

"Huwag ho kayong matakot kung hindi ka terorista. Kung hindi ka naman sisirain mo ang gobyerno, pasabugin mo ang simbahan, pasabugin mo 'yung public utilities, pasabugin mo 'yung, just to derail, matumba na tuloy ang bayan," he said on his public address aired early Wednesday.

(Do not be afraid if you are not a terrorist. If you will not destroy the government, blow up the church, blow up public utilities, blow up just to derail, the nation will go down.)

Last week, Duterte signed the contentious anti-terrorism bill into law, which is feared to be used as a tool to stifle dissent and target opponents of the government.

Critics of the legislation—which include lawyers, rights groups, members of the academe and environmentalists—said the vague and overly broad definition of terrorism and terrorist acts will infringe on people’s basic rights and fundamental freedoms.

They also sounded alarm on the extended period of detention without warrant and the powers given to the Anti-Terrorism Council. The ATC is a special body composed of presidential appointees that will permit law enforcement authorities to arrest people it designates as terrorists.

“This law precisely creates a climate of fear, sends a chilling effect on those who wish to express their legitimate grievances, state their aspirations, and wish to engage in open and democratic debate, and threatens the rights of associations who may wish to dissent and question the actuations of those in power,” the framers of the 1987 Constitution said in a statement Monday.

At least four separate petitions at the Supreme Court called for the implementation of the controversial law to be halted. The high court ordered the government to comment on the petitions.

The measure is expected to take effect on July 18.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: August 3, 2020 - 2:47pm

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Anti-Terrorism Law on July 3 despite opposition from rights groups and civil society groups that it could be used to stifle human rights.

A petition against the law has been filed at the Supreme Court and other groups are preparing pleadings of their own.

Follow this page for updates. Photo courtesy of The STAR/Michael Varcas 

August 3, 2020 - 2:47pm

It is not the intention of the anti-terror bill to regulate social media, says Rep. Ruffy Biazon (Muntinlupa), co-author of the anti-terrorism bill that is now a law, on Twitter.

Biazon is reacting to a statement from the military that what it calls a "very, very good law" that is "comprehensive" be applied to social media.

The controversial Anti-Terrorism Law is now being challenged by more than a dozen petitioners at the Supreme Court as it is seen to have vague provisions allowing abuses against rights to free speech, due process and privacy.

July 24, 2020 - 9:47am

SAKA (Sama-samang Artista para sa Kilusang Agraryo) holds "Traffic Jam", a mobile gig in protest of the anti-terrorism law on Friday morning.

Performers will play at six stops across Quezon City and Marikina starting in UP Area 2 and ending in front of the ABS-CBN compound.

"Among the performers are punk band The Exsenadors, folk-rock outfit Pinkmen, electronic artists Comrade Jones and Escuri, and the hip-hop musicians of Ogg," SAKA says in an advisory.

"Also playing is the Barangay Pesante Combo, made up of activists from SAKA, Sining na Naglilingkod sa Bayan (Sinagbayan), Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), and National Network of Agrarian Reform Advocates - Youth (NNARA-Youth), led by musician Alyana Cabral."

The mobile gig follows a series of "protest busking sessions" by Shirebound and Busking and the BP Combo last week.

Photo: SAKA release

July 19, 2020 - 9:15am

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Movement Against Tyranny, Karapatan and other petitioners have filed — by email — a petition asking the Supreme Court to strike down Republic Act 11479, or the anti-terrrorism law, as unconstitutional.

Bayan and other activists from groups aligned with it have been tagged by government agencies and officials as "terrorists" even before the enactment of the law. Other activists and rights workers have also been harassed and killed.

"With the terror law already deemed effective, the petitioners are asking the High Court to stop the convening of the Anti-Terror Council and the exercise of its functions, to stop the drafting the of the IRR and the convening of the Joint Oversight Committee under Section 50 of the assailed law. The petitioners are asking the SC to strike down the entire law for being unconstitutional," they say in a press statement.

This is the latest in a string of petitions against the new law, which critics say can be abused and may be used to stifle dissent. Labor unionists who have filed petitions against the law say it can be used against organized labor.

July 17, 2020 - 4:09pm

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra says the Anti-Terror Law will take effect on Saturday, or 15 days after its publication.

Guevarra apologizes for the earlier statement that the law will take effect on July 19.

"We’re just about to start drafting the IRR (implementing rules and regulations). We have to finish this in 90 days. The IRR will likewise have to be published when it is done," the Justice chief says.

July 9, 2020 - 4:15pm

Activists with the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines US chapter and the Malaya movement (Malaya: U.S. Movement Against Killings and Dictatorship in the Philippines) march in Washington DC to protest passage of the Anti-Terrrorism Law and call for its scrapping.

"We unite in solidarity with the Filipino people and vehemently condemn the passing of the law. We cannot overlook the influence of the United States in the push for the Anti-Terror Law, which in design mimics the increased state surveillance and state power modeled in the U.S. Patriot Act," says ICHRP-US spokesperson Drew Elizarde-Miller.

The protests are part of a global day of action against Duterte’s Anti-Terror law. More than 10 cities joined in the US-wide condemnation gatherings, ICHRP-US also says.

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