‘Anti-Terror Law strongly mandates human rights shall be protected’: PH Amb. Romualdez

The Philippines’ controversial anti-terror law takes effect Saturday in the homeland despite increasing calls from various groups, including Fil-Am activists, international human rights organizations and U.S. lawmakers, to veto the legislation.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the measure earlier this month and critics have described the provisions of the law, including its definition of terrorism,  as draconian and vague.

Under the measure, security forces can wiretap suspected terrorists for up to ninety days. They can also detain them for up to twenty- four days without charge. There are nine Supreme Court petitions challenging the measure’s constitutionality.

Philippine Ambassador to the United States, Jose Manuel Romualdez, sent a response to the 50 U.S. lawmakers who recently signed a letter urging the Duterte administration to repeal the Philippine Anti-terror Law. 

In a letter dated July 16, Romualdez began his letter by telling the U.S. lawmakers concerned that the Philippines ranks high in the global terrorism index, and that the Human 

Security Act of 2007, which the Anti-terror Law of 2020 replaced, was ineffective in addressing terrorism threats in the country. 

Romualdez went on to say that the anti-terror law clearly defines terrorism as violent acts and violent purposea, and that it excludes legitimate exercises of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. 

Romualdez also assured that there are safeguards in place to prevent abuses and says the Philippines remains committed to the protection of civil and political liberties, as well as human rights.

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