At the onset, let us be very clear about one thing, we are against terrorism! But it is also for this reason that we are opposed to the “Terror Bills” now pending in Congress.
Under a climate of fear and with the absence of a healthy public debate on the matter, Congress is rushing the so-called Anti-Terrorism Bill which, despite President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s claim, would not solve the problem of terrorism but would only undermine the working people’s basic inalienable rights: union rights; and the right to dissent, the ability to disagree, to question our country’s leaders and to criticize their actions.
In both versions of the bill (in the Senate and the House of Representatives), the definition of how terrorism is committed is too broad for comfort (Section 3 in both versions). If passed into law, the “Terror Bill” can be abused by government to stifle legitimate dissent akin to what we have seen during the Martial Law years.
But more importantly, government has yet to convince the public of the need for an Anti-Terrorism law, especially when there are already existing laws that penalizes almost all, if not all, overt acts of terrorism. Surely it is not the lack of laws that explains government’s failure to crush criminal elements whose status was elevated by the United States as terrorist groups!
Thus the real intent of the bill is suspicious, to say the least. Is it really being designed to fight terrorism or to stifle, even criminalize, legitimate dissent? Perhaps it is not a coincidence that some of those pushing for this bill are those who were part of the Marcos dictatorship.
But if the Congress really wants to fight terrorism, then we are challenging Congress to focus its attention on addressing its root causes: the deplorable poverty and social injustice in the country; and President GMA’s war in Mindanao and her irresponsible support for US military aggression which surely breeds terrorism!
No to Terrorism!
No to the Terror Bill!
Uphold Trade Union Rights!
Defend and Advance Civil and Political Rights!