Martial law in hiding: Duterte’s anti-terror law is state-sponsored terrorism legitimized
Duterte made one hell of a show of supposedly going through the legal nitty-gritty of passing the Anti-Terror Bill into law; when in reality, this law is everything Duterte dreamed of having, to top off his dictatorship.
After railroading the Anti-Terror Bill and turning deaf ears to human rights activists, lawmakers, and the entire Filipino people, Duterte has finally signed and sealed the passage of the Anti-Terror Bill. Now an actual law, Duterte’s fascist administration and military can use this as a legal defense to conduct all forms of illegal acts against any and all citizens who are critical of Duterte’s rotten government.
Unconstitutional policies to further human rights violations
Despite promises by fascist stalwarts such as Panfilo Lacson that the new law will not be abused, the masses are not blind to the truth that the Anti-Terror Law in itself is abuse of power legitimized. It is but a measure to make palatable and legal all the human rights violations that had been, are being, and will be committed by Duterte’s military and police.
Ever since the start of Duterte’s presidency, countless illegal “arrests” have been made by his uniformed men. Activists were held in police custody for days on end without so much as a charge or a warrant and critics were taken in just for airing out legitimate concerns. Now, the Anti-Terror Law will not only extend the “lawful” detention of anyone the Anti-Terror Council (ATC) perceives as a terrorist to up to a horrendous 24 days, but will also remove the penalty on policemen who illegally hold suspected “terrorists”.
Most infuriating is that this law, in its very core, aims merely to broaden the meaning of “terrorism” — vague enough to suit anyone’s definition. Simply put, identifying “terrorists” is now subject to the whims and political biases of the ATC — a group to be made up of elected government officials who are no doubt the most deeply-rooted in Duterte’s pockets and his pool of uniformed murderers. Not only can they now freely pinpoint whoever should be secretly wiretapped or whose communication records be seized and whose bank assets should be frozen; worst, the council “can authorize in writing” the arrest of anyone they consider a terrorist — thus essentially eroding the judiciary’s powers in Duterte’s administration.
Not only will this law now undoubtedly ramp up the already large number of political prisoners in the country, it will also threaten to silence dissenters by giving absolute power to military, policemen, and politicians who have an unbelievable track record of red-tagging progressive organizations with legitimate calls and criticisms against Duterte’s fascist government. How can the people forget the thousands killed by state elements under the President’s bloody OPLAN Tokhang?
The intensified mass arrests, attacks on press freedom, and violation of civil liberties are just the beginning for Duterte. As the country struggles to ease into the “new normal”, the administration is pushing the youth to continue its education in the digital arena — a playing field that they know is much easier to control, manipulate, and most importantly, monitor. This threatens an even greater repression and crackdown on youth and student activists; and the Anti-Terror Law poses as the perfect weapon to do just that.
A witch-hunt to hide the true terrorists
Duterte and his cronies are creating make-believe “terrorists” to try to hide the increasingly rampant state-sponsored terrorism.
The entire country saw how the COVID-19 pandemic was used merely as a means to impose a drastic lockdown measure that saw the abuse of power of several policemen — even leading to the death of one 63-year old farmer from Agusan del Norte and Winston Ragos, a retired military. The lockdown proved to have only served Duterte’s plan of bestowing unrestrained power on his military and police; and useless in containing the virus as the country is still witnessing the continuous rise in number of COVID-19 patients.
Duterte then used the ensuing economic fallout to rationalize additional debts that was funneled not to financial and social aid for the masses and subsidy for the public healthcare system, but rather to Duterte’s pet project — the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program. Instead of allotting funds for COVID-19 response, Duterte’s administration is using the budget to pacify his foreign imperial masters and fund the continuous bombing of the countryside and the nonstop counterinsurgency operations that is further plunging peasant communities into poverty and livelihood instability.
The dying murderer in the seat of power will definitely use the Anti-Terror Law to hide the incompetency and failures of his government in providing mass testing, ample measure for the safe resumption of work and schooling, and the government’s financial assistance to buffer the impact of the economic crisis. Duterte will undoubtedly use the Anti-Terror Law to keep the billions he had plundered and shoved down to his biggest bureaucrat capitalist cronies.
And now, the Anti-Terror Law is being forced down the people’s throats as a desperate disaster control measure against the growing ouster movement. Notwithstanding the misinformation and state propaganda, the people saw through Duterte’s tricks and are rising up to struggle to protect their democracy. He and his ruling clique becomes isolated from the people at the signing of this law of and for state terrorism.
The administration’s delusions cannot change the fact that the concrete struggles of a semi-feudal and semi-colonial country have long discarded the rose-colored glasses of the Filipino people. Lies and intimidation cannot force the enraged masses to stomach the injustice, abuse, and oppression that they have repeatedly fought against and won over — in 1896, in 1986.
Under this political milieu, the Kabataan Makabayan calls on the broad masses of democratic youth and revolutionaries to live by the example of the KM during the Marcos era and intensify the armed revolutionary struggle in the countryside. The worsening economic and political conditions and Duterte’s dictatorship will definitely cause more suffering to the people but will also increase the people’s firm resolve to topple down the current exploitative and oppressive conditions. The Armed Forces may claim that the state had decimated the numbers of the revolutionary forces, but the masses know that the revolution is alive and the armed resistance will endure and emerge victorious!
There is no greater threat to democracy and sovereignty than Duterte who, in the time of national crisis, sends his military and police to go to war on his own people. There is no bigger terrorist than this despot who, while the people are out fending for themselves, sits safely in his mansion watching the entire hullabaloo in blissful satisfaction. The patriotic youth, side by side with the peasants and workers who have long been deprived of their liberties by this tyrannical administration, will intensify the fight against the true terrorists. Now more than ever, the youth will not rest until Duterte gets the ending he deserves — an ending not unlike the one history witnessed — in 1896, in 1986, and today, soon.