Reading terror

I am at a point in which I no longer get easily intimidated by texts that are generally considered to be “too difficult to read.” After decades of reading and re-reading, I think I now have the experience and the grit to power through even the most dense of documents.

Take, for instance, the “Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.” It isn’t the most complex in terms of language, but it also isn’t the kind of text that I usually read. Maybe I was just genuinely curious, or maybe I have indeed matured as a reader that I somehow managed to distill all 60+ pages of the Anti-Terror Bill.

I consulted other sources too and I did my own research before arriving at a conclusion: the Anti-Terror Bill has very dangerous implications, especially for the country’s most vulnerable sectors. I say no too.

It bothers me when lawmakers claim that the Anti-Terror Bill has “enough safeguards” to protect the people from abuse. It implies that they themselves recognize existing flaws — they knew something would go wrong, and so they wrote the safeguards to cushion the blow.

The safeguards are therefore secondary, almost like point-per-point afterthoughts for when the powers-that-be decide that they can detain, surveil, and intimidate anyone who does not agree with their every move. Some say that law-abiding citizens have nothing worry about, but this argument holds true only if the country’s armed forces have persistently demonstrated extreme diligence when exercising the law.

Fact is, they have not. The “collateral damage” and the “bad apples” are simply too many and too entrenched in the system to ignore.

If signed into law, the Anti-Terror Bill will allow state forces to label anyone a terrorist on mere suspicion. This may not be an issue for people who live in cushy neighborhoods, but it will aggravate the state-inflicted abuses in the slums and in the countryside where the poorest sectors reside. Poor people in the margins are easy targets. They have no resources and no audience, and so state-sponsored violations committed against them are almost always unpunished and undocumented.

The arbiters of the Anti-Terror Bill — the body who may decide if a person or a group intends to commit terrorism — is the Anti-Terrorism Council (Section 45). Its members under the current administration will include the likes of DFA Secretary Teddy Locsin, a former journalist who once asserted that Adolf Hitler did “some things” right; DICT Secretary Gringo Honasan, a former senator who was charged with graft over the PDAF scam; and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, a former AFP chief-of-staff whose tenure was riddled with substantiated claims of human rights violations against legal and unarmed activists.

One can only wonder why these boomers men whose integrity has been tarnished time and again are somehow still in positions of power. In any case, I think it is irresponsible to support the Anti-Terror Bill, especially if you do so because you believe that you are spared from its possible consequences. It is unwise to blindly trust the goodwill of the law’s implementers. And when a law can potentially infringe upon the people’s basic rights and civil liberties, it must be written assuming the worst of its enforcers.

It is in this context that I read the Anti-Terror Bill. I understand that it allows a court to declare a suspect a terrorist, essentially presuming guilt, before hearings are held (Section 27); I understand that it has “extraterritorial applications” that make its provisions enforceable upon people who live outside the Philippines (Section 49); and I also understand that its clause on “Inciting to Commit Terrorism” includes items as general as “speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, and other representations” (Section 9).

Read the bill first, they say. I actually read it, kids — I am not a terrorist and I am afraid.


The featured image is from Pineapple Supply Co.

If this post gets taken down in the future, alam n’yo na a? Chareng, jusqulerd. Ingat palagi!

9 thoughts on “Reading terror”

  1. get easily intimated by texts — intimidated? baka mali ako. wag mo na lang approve ang comment or delete mo na lang if ever. wala rin ako opinyon tungkol d2 kaya nag proofread na lang ako char hahaha

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Noooooo!
        may nabasa akong justification sa FB post ni Lucy Torres (kongresista pala sya) at example dun yun isang terrorist attack. may FB friend kasi ako nag post tungkol dito. tapos nag comment yung isang friend nya ng justification tapos may link nung post ni Lucy. at mukhang nakumbinsi nman sya (yung friend of a friend).

        Naintindihan ko naman kung bakit kayang ijustify ni Lucy yung bill kasi bukod sa maganda sya ay maganda naman talaga sya. Dahil doon naiintindihan ko sya. Pero di ko kailangang basahin at intindihin yung point nya.. junkterrorbill parin mga uLols

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Bakit noooo? Hahaha.

          Nabasa ko rin ‘yung kay Lucy. Gets ko naman ‘yung justification niya for the most part. Ang hindi niya lang binanggit o kinonsider e ‘yung track record ng state forces sa pag-conflate ng mga grupo gaya ng Abu Sayyaf at ng mga grupo gaya ng CPP-NPA.

          Ilang pulitiko/pulis/taong-gobyerno na ba ang paulit-ulit na nagre-redtag at nagsasabing NPA fronts ‘yung mga ligal na aktibista? At least isa sa mga sinubukang i-charge ng terrorism under the HSA ay suspected member ng NPA (na eventually na-acquit, kasi aktibistang magsasaka lang naman talaga siya).

          Meron ding nakabinbin na application sa DOJ to designate alleged members of the CPP as terrorists. Under the Anti-Terror Bill, mauuna ‘yung proscription bago ‘yung hearings — idedeklara kang terorista bago ilitis ‘yung kaso mo. Kung nagkataon pwede nang hulihin at i-declare na terorista ‘yung mga nire-redtag na tao/grupo. Anong nangyari sa presumption of innocence until proven otherwise? I don’t think there’s a “safeguard” that directly addresses this, but correct me if I’m wrong.

          So gets naman na kailangan ng Pilipinas ng mas mabisang batas kontra-terorismo — I swear I am not against this — pero misleading din ‘yung claim na “[terrorists] can never be mistaken as activists.” That’s been happening for so many years now, sana i-recognize man lang n’ya ‘yon.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Lilinawin ko lang:

          Naintindihan ko naman kung bakit kayang ijustify ni Lucy yung bill kasi bukod sa maganda sya ay maganda naman talaga sya. — Si Lucy Torres ang tinutukoy ko HINDI yung Anti-Terror Bill.

          Naintindihan ko si Lucy… kasi malamang sa malamang hindi niya rin lubos na naiintindihan kung ano man ang laman nung post n’ya. Hindi n’ya rin inusisa yung other side of it. Pwedeng hindi rin sa kanya nanggaling yun..

          Pwedeng kay “Diane”. Hahaha

          In short, tool lang sya para mang impluwensya ng mga tao or followers nya.

          I mean c’mon, her hubby painted a huge dick and called it ART.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Hahaha baka si “Diane” nga gumawa. 😀 Although may napanood ako na interview ni Lucy tungkol sa Ondoy dati, parang mabuting tao talaga siya. Baka uto-uto lang ako, pero na-convince talaga ako n’un na genuine naman ang concern niya. Hahaha.

          So hindi naman ako imbyerna kay Manay Lucy az a perzon, tsaka hindi ko rin inisip na nagandahan ka nga sa bill. Sinagot ko lang ‘yung hanash ni Manay Lu in case may mapadpad dito na on the fence pa re: the bill hehehe.

          Liked by 1 person

        4. hindi ko rin inisip na nagandahan ka nga sa bill — I know, nilinaw ko lang para sa ibang readers (naks! may audience? hahaha)

          parang mabuting tao talaga siya — okay, didn’t mean to judge her pagkatao or kahit si goma. tinatamad lang ako mag-isip. sorry na rin dahil walang kwenta reply ko sa paliwanag mo, pero I agree 110%. Base dun sa isang post sa FB, maayos din daw yung distribution ng ayuda sa Ormoc.

          Which I think, mas OK talaga na nasa executive yung mga tulad nila. Siguro mas OK kung executive din si Lucy, hindi as lawmaker.

          And actually, pwedeng iconsider yung art ni goma as “fuck you” para sa mga elitistang art society mafia na lahi din ng mga hacienderong nagpapahirap sa mga magsasaka (kasama na yung poet na nanlait kay lang leav).

          Napasearch tuloy ako. Congressperson pala si Lucy sa QC. At laman din pala ng news yung post nya — na “not for activists” — hello? nagbabasa ba sya ng mga post ng mga dedeebs? na galit na galit sa mga nagrarally.. na salot ang turing nila?

          (btw, may isa akong friend na dingdong dantes supporter na cguro medyo na-iconvert ko ng konti. yung sa usapin ng sa tubig nag post sya asan daw si renato reyes, bkit di daw mag ingay. tapos nag comment ako ni link ko yung post ni renato tungkol sa issue ng maynilad. sabi ko para sa mga tao din naman ang pinaglalaban nila. tapos minsan nakita ko nag share ng post ni seyer otaner.)

          ang gusto ko lang sabihin ay ayaw ko nang pag aksayahan ng energy yung post nya. and going back to the point na mas OK kung nasa executive branch sila… batas kasi ito… madali kasi silang paikotin ng mga kapwa nila politiko.. alam ko marami din or may ilan sa mga dingdong dantes supporters ang sincerely naaawa din sa mga mahihirap, ang may mabuting loob, pero dahil hindi sila critical mag isip, nabubulagan sila.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Natatakot ako talaga kasi hindi safe, walang safe lalo na sa bill na yan. Yung ngang wala pang ganyan ang dami nang pinatay, ang dami nang hindi natin alam na human rights violation tapos ngayon may ganyan. 😥 Nakakalungkot pero more than lungkot, takot talaga yung nafifeel ko. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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