Anti-terror bill passes first reading
The House of Representatives passed on first reading a bill seeking to impose harsher punishment for committing terroristic acts.
At a virtual hearing last Friday afternoon, the joint committees on public order and safety and on national defense and security approved the substitute bill for the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act that gives more teeth to the law against terrorism and effectively repeals the Human Security Act of 2007.
The panels chaired by Masbate Rep. Narciso Bravo Jr. and Iloilo Rep. Raul Tupas, respectively, adopted the version already approved by the Senate on third and final reading last February.
With the approval by the committees, the proposed measure will now be set for deliberations and approval by the House plenary, which is set to adjourn sine die next week.
Bravo explained that they decided to adopt the Senate version to fast track its passage and avoid convening a bicameral conference.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana lauded yesterday the two House committees for approving the proposed anti-terrorism bill.
In a statement issued yesterday, he said the stronger law that will more effectively fight terrorism would definitely boost the campaign against security threats.
“The DND (Department of National Defense) welcomes the approval by the House committees on public order and safety, and national defense and security, of a proposed bill which will strengthen the government’s response against terrorism,” he announced.
“The Human Security Act of 2007 is no longer responsive to the evolving nature of the threats we face, hence the need for a new law,” Lorenzana stressed.
The Makabayan bloc in the Lower House objected to the passage of the measure.
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate believed that the new measure would only breed human rights abuses by authorities.
“This anti-terror bill can easily be weaponized against critics and members of the opposition due to its vagueness and broadness of definition of terrorism,” the militant lawmaker alleged.
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