Duterte certifies as urgent anti-terror bill
Delon Porcalla, Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - June 2, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has certified as urgent a bill that seeks to strengthen the government’s campaign against terrorism, but is being criticized by groups concerned that it would lead to human rights violations.

Duterte called for the immediate passage of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 in a letter to Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano yesterday.

If the President certifies the passage of a bill as urgent, it would be exempted from the rule, which states that a measure can be passed on final reading three days after its approval on second reading.

On May 30, the House of Representatives approved on first reading House Bill 7875 seeking to impose harsher penalties against terrorists and repeal Republic Act 9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007.

The House committees on public order and safety, national defense and security chaired by Reps. Narciso Bravo (Masbate) and Raul Tupas (Iloilo), respectively, approved the substitute bill for the Anti-Terrorism Act.

The Senate approved its version of the measure last February.

Some groups said the bill would worsen human rights abuses in the country. Critics of the measure expressed fear that it would be used to target progressive groups and activists.

Security officials assured the public that the measure would not be used to violate human rights.

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