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THE VOTE:  The anti-terror bill may also be employed to silence the critics and suppress lawful dissent

[Anak Mindanao partylist Rep.  Amihilda Sangcopan explains via Zoom, her “No” vote to HB 6875  (the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020), at the House of Representatives on 3 June 2020]

Assalamu alaikum Warahmatullahi taala Wabarakatu.

Anak Mindanao votes “NO” vote to HB No. 6875 that repeals the Human Security Act of 2007 because of the unimaginable sufferings this piece of legislation may cause to individuals, groups, communities, and ethnicities out of sheer “terrorist” tagging.

For years, after the 9/11 attack, Islamophobia worsened. Muslims have been negatively stereotyped as extremist that has resulted in bias, discrimination, and marginalization. It is a brand that we, Muslims, strive to change each day, hoping that someday, we shall walk and share this earth with you as equals.

But with the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, this monstrous and evil legislation not only violates constitutional guarantees, but it also tramples almost every known article under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Anak Mindanao partylist Rep. Amihilda Sangcoapn explains via Zoom her “No” vote to HB 6875 during the House of Representatives’ session on 03 June 2020. Screengrabbed from livestreamed session

And while we, the Filipino Muslims and members of the indigenous peoples remain unprotected from the prejudiced and the Islamophobic adherents with the non-passage of a law that will prohibit discrimination on account of ethnic and religious affiliation, this Bill will unjustifyingly broaden the influence of the already heavy-handed military and police forces through the extension of their surveillance power – including wire-tapping and recording our conversations, effecting warrantless arrests, and prolonging detention periods up to 14 days. It also suspends the P500,000 per day penalty against wrongful arrest and imprisonment.

Clearly, the passage of the anti-terror bill will not only be used as a tool for repression in the guise of thwarting terrorism; but it may also be employed to silence the critics and suppress lawful dissent.

Time and again, we have felt these oppressions when the PNP reportedly did the noble act of issuing a memorandum that orders the profiling of all Muslim High School students in Metro Manila. They say it is their way of strengthening peace-building and to counter violent extremism by summarization directed only against our kind.

Time and again, we have felt these oppressions when a miner and a farmer from Maco, Davao de Oro were eating balut in downtown Tagum when they were accosted and accused of being thieves by soldiers. For days they were beaten and tortured until they were made to dig their own graves, poured crude oil on their bodies, set them on fire, and left for dead.

Time and again, we have felt these oppressions when we were driven out of our homelands because of an ensuing war that is not of our making.

Time and again, we have felt these oppressions when we are bullied because of the way we dress and how we exercise our religion.

Surely, the passage of the HB 6875 will embolden more oppressors who will wield its power under the cloak of an Anti-Terrorism Council.

Kaming mga Moro at Lumad ang madalas na unang biktima ng tunay na terrorismo, hindi lamang sa bansang ito, kundi sa iba’t- ibang panig din ng mundo. At sa pagpapatupad ng batas na ito, naniniwala akong dadagdagan lamang nito ang pagpapahirap at pang-aabuso sa tulad naming nahuhusgaan nang mga terorista bago pa man malaman ang aming mga pangalan o makita ang aming mga mukha.

This law is not the way to combat terrorism, but a way to further  incite people to resort to violence. Kalakip po ng aking pagboto, as  representative of Anak Mindanao (AMIN) Partylist, ang aking dasal  na nawa’y patnubayan tayo ng Panginoon sa ating desisyong magpapabago sa buhay ng napakaraming tao.

I vote NO to HB 6875. Salamat po.

Mindanawon reps warn anti-terror bill won’t eradicate but exacerbate terrorism 

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