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New anti-terror law fixes flaws in Human Security Act — PCOO

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The new anti-terrorism law aims to correct the flaws in Republic Act (RA) 9372 or the Human Security Act (HSA) of 2007, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said on July 3, 2020.

In a press statement, Andanar said the new law, RA 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, would enable the government to implement tougher measures against terrorism.

He also acknowledged that the HSA “served as a dead letter law and was severely underutilized.”

“We support President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to further affirm the administration’s proactive campaign against terrorism by signing into law the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. With the law, a more discerning mechanism is in place to prevent and deter the threats and dangers posed by terrorists to the Filipino people,” Andanar said.

RA 11479 effectively repeals the HSA to further boost the government’s policies against terror acts.

Andanar said the new anti-terror law would help advance the country’s national security interests.

“As the Philippines is heavily afflicted by terrorism, as reflected in its ranking in the Global Terrorism Index of 2019, the Duterte administration stands with a firm position of undertaking stricter measures against terrorists, including foreign ones, while maintaining the respect for human rights as we have ensured safeguards against abuse,” he said.

Under RA 11479, people who are part of the planning and training for the commission of terrorism will face life imprisonment sans the benefit of parole and the benefits provided under RA 10592 or the Good Conduct Time Allowance Law.

The anti-terror law, which was inked by Duterte on Friday, also warns that any person who threatens to commit terror acts will suffer the penalty of 12-year imprisonment.

It also states that people who propose to commit or join terror acts will be jailed for 12 years.

Advocacy, protest, dissent, stoppage of work, industrial or mass action, and other similar exercises of civil and political rights not intended to cause death or serious physical harm to a person or to create a serious risk to public safety are not considered terror acts, according to RA 11479.

The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 also ensures that the use of torture and other “cruel, inhumane, and degrading” treatment or punishment against detained suspected terrorists is “absolutely prohibited.”

Andanar vowed that the PCOO would cooperate with and support all relevant agencies in addressing the issue of terrorism while adhering to human rights and rule of law.

“Let us all work together to defeat terrorism and fulfill the President’s vision of a safe and secure, terrorism-free Philippines,” he said. (Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos, PNA)

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