Activists reach out to U.S. elected officials in protest of new Philippine Anti-Terror Law

SAN FRANCISCO — These Fil-Am activists gathered in front of the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco warning people about the devastating impacts of this President Duterte-backed measure.

“There have been actions all across the nation, and even a global online rally coordinated by Migrante International that featured Filipinos from all countries overseas.”

Besides voicing out their concerns, these activists from Anakbayan and GABRIELA USA are finding ways to put pressure on the Duterte administration.

Even amid the pandemic — these Fil-Ams are finding ways to reach out to international human rights activists and elected officials in the U.S.

They said they’ve spoken with the staff of house speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman Jackie Spier, and Congressman Eric Swalwell.

Meanwhile, the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights also condemned Duterte’s anti-terror law.

“The recent passage of the new Anti-Terrorism Act heightens our concerns about the blurring of important distinctions between criticism, criminality and terrorism,” said Michelle Bachelet. “The law could have a further chilling effect on human rights and humanitarian work, hindering support to vulnerable and marginalized communities.”

The anti-terror law expands the definition of terrorism that can subject suspects, arrested without a warrant, to weeks of detention before they could even see a judge.

It also takes away stiff penalties for wrongful detention.

Furthermore, it provides authorities broad powers to determine what constitutes a terrorist, and critics said it could lead to red-tagging and the silencing of those who protest against the Duterte administration — even impacting overseas Filipinos.

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