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Anti-terror bill to ‘help’ activists campaign for reforms peacefully — Nograles

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Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles on Tuesday sought to allay fears about the Anti-Terrorism Bill, saying the measure would in fact help activists pursue reforms in society.

“Ang bill na ito ay hindi kontra aktibista,” he told reporters via Zoom.

“We want activism. We promote activism. Ang totoo nga, ang bill na ito ay dahil sa mga aktibista. Ang gusto natin ang mga aktibista ay mabigyan ng mga mapayapang paraan para mag-campaign for reforms,” Nograles said.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday began plenary debates on House Bill 6875, which would amend the Human Security Act of 2007. The bill was approved by a joint House panel last week.

On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte certified the bill as urgent, allowing the House to pass it on second and third reading on the same day.

Nograles said the bill only targeted terrorists, not activists.

“Ang kinakalaban lang ng ating panukalang batas ay ang mga terrorists,” he said.

Human rights advocates expressed fears that the anti-terror bill could be used to attack critics and dissenters by lumping them together with terrorist groups.