Activists say Duterte administration can’t suppress their right to criticize the government

As Filipino activists protest the anti-terror bill in the Philippines, their Filipino American counterparts are doing the same in the U.S.

During a recent Zoom meeting — community organizers based in the San Francisco Bay Area discussed how Fil-Am activists could also be impacted if the anti-terror is signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Amid public outcry, Philippine lawmakers fast-tracked its passage.

The bill allows the increased period of warrantless detention and expanded surveillance of those considered ‘suspicious’ by law enforcement.

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 Fil-Ams.

If left unsigned, the anti-terror bill will lapse into law on July 9th.

Members of the Malaya Movement revealed how they were already red-tagged by the Duterte administration’s national task force to end local communist armed conflict.

Despite the threats that come with the anti-terror bill, these activists said these will not stop them from calling for justice.

“We as Filipinos have a right and a duty to stand up for what we believe is just. And I think as we are seeing how many human rights violations done by the Duterte administration, we should continue to engage in this work.”

These Fil-Am activists are trying to work with their local U.S. representatives to denounce the developments in the Philippines.

So far, Congresswoman Jackie Spier has denounced Duterte’s drug war and most recently issued a statement condemning the Duterte regime’s attacks on press freedom such as the libel conviction of Fil-Am journalist Maria Ressa and the shutdown of the Philippines’ biggest media network, ABS-CBN.

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