CALOOCAN CITY, July 7 (PIA) -- The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Sunday issued a statement declaring its agency-wide support to the passing of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 and said the new law is "not a tool for oppression."
"We assure the Filipino people that this law will never be a tool for oppression nor will it curtail the freedom of speech as it has safeguards against human rights violations and abuses on the part of law enforcers," DILG Secretary Eduardo Ano said, emphasizing that with the law, the government and its law enforcers, in particular, are "better equipped to protect our people and ensure their safety against the clear and present danger of terrorists."
The official said the DILG will not allow the new law to be abused and that "it will be used judiciously only for the purpose for which it was enacted-defeat the communist terrorists and violent extremists once and for all."
"We repeat that only the terrorists should fear this law and all law-abiding and peaceful citizens have nothing to fear," the DILG chief assured the public.
The official also highlighted the need for the country to have a law that can effectively curb terrorism, as he cited that the previous Human Security Act of 2017 remains an "obsolete" law and is severely underutilized.
"The signing of this law is an important step in the whole-of-nation approach against terrorism because it will give us the upper hand against communist terrorists and violent extremists who have sought legal cover under the obsolete provisions of the Human Security Act and had never been prosecuted nor jailed for their atrocious terror attacks against the nation and the Filipino people," Ano said.
"We owe this law to the countless victims of terrorism-from the indigenous peoples who were killed, the youth and children who were radicalized and made into child warriors, the legitimate businessmen who were milked and extorted, the many innocent civilians, including women, children and the elderly who were gunned down in terror attacks like the Rano Massacre, and the countless police and military officers and personnel who laid their lives fighting the terrorists," he said.
"And who would forget the Marawi Siege and Zamboanga Siege where many lives were lost because of terror attacks? This law is the country's assurance that justice will finally be served," he furthered.
Ano said the entire DILG family, including its attached agencies such as the National Police Commission, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Philippine Public Safety College, Local Government Academy, Philippine Commission on Women, National Youth Commission, and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, expresses its thanks to the 18th Congress and President Rodrigo Duterte for signing the Anti-Terror Bill into law over the weekend. (PIA NCR)