June 17, 2020 (7:53 PM)

3 min read


CULTURE OF SECURITY. Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio backs Anti Terror Bill against terrorists that threaten the peace and security in the country in an official statement, June 15. Photo by Gwyneth Marie Vasquez

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in an official statement last June 15 expressed her support for the passage of the controversial Anti-Terrorism Bill (ATB) as terrorism has “cost the lives of Davaoenos”.

“It is our hope that with the passing of the Bill, we can better protect the lives of the Filipino people from an enemy that does not have any regard for life, that only has death and destruction on their minds,” the City Mayor’s statement read.

Recalling the disastrous terrorist acts that claimed the lives of Davaoeños in recent years, Duterte-Carpio emphasized that those serve as painful reminders for the city government as it strives for peace and security.

The Davao Mayor noted that “dangers and threats of terrorism are still a reality” despite the circumstances of a pandemic.

“The presence and foreign terrorist threats in our country continue to undermine our peace and democracy even as we are in our most vulnerable state,” it added.

In the latter part of the statement, Duterte-Carpio called for vigilance and participation in establishing a culture of security locally and in the country.

Ateneans’ response

Following the issuance of the statement, Ateneans expressed various sentiments.

Incoming 2nd year Accountancy student Sanny Francis Peña Jr. noted that he is fine with the Mayor’s support considering that it is directed to ‘purely anti-terrorism and not the misdoings that would happen.’

Albeit the bill providing the Anti-Terrorism Council significant autonomy in defining who are terrorists, Peña stated that the City Mayor is firm in countering terrorism.

“But knowing Mayor Sara, I am quite sure na pabor siya sa ATB solely for anti-terrorism jud. And she would not tolerate any abuse or using whatsoever using that law jud,” he said.

Meanwhile, Brian Joseph Unabia of AB Political Science uttered that Duterte-Carpio backing the ATB was ‘not a surprise.’

“.. I understand that terrorism is a real threat especially here in Davao and the entire Mindanao. However, this Anti-Terrorism Bill has a greater propensity to be weaponized by the state against it dissenters than actually solving the problem of terrorism,” Unabia told Atenews.

Unabia expressed his opposition to the anti-terror bill, thinking it is a ‘poorly-disguised state instrument meant to give the government a stronger legitimacy to crack down on valid forms of protest and dissent.’ 

“Given all the vague definitions of terrorism, the greater discretion given to law enforcement officers, the incommensurate punishments, and the current political climate, we have enough reasons to be skeptical and angry about this ill-timed bill,” Unabia stressed.

After gaining approval in Congress, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 was transmitted to the Malacanang Palace last June 9. Currently, it awaits the President’s signature or veto. If no action will be taken in 30 days after receipt, the bill will automatically lapse into law.

End the silence of the gagged!

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