#JunkTerrorLaw protest at Consulate
#JunkTerrorLaw protest at Consulate
By Ysh Cabana
The Philippine reporter
TORONTO—On Wednesday, July 8, several dozens of Filipino-Canadians gathered in front of the Philippine Consulate office in Toronto to protest against the new Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 or the Terror Law as many concerned groups have re-named it.
In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the law was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte as Republic Act 11479. Both the Senate and House of Representatives are controlled by allies of Duterte who had called for the Bill’s passage and “immediate enactment.”
The act grants the country’s security forces broad powers of arrest and detention. A broad range of groups, sectors and activists in the Philippines and abroad believe the law casts a wide net and will enable the further suppression of dissent, silencing the opposition, and privacy infringements including freezing of the assets of suspects, among others.
“This is alarming for migrant workers abroad because the act is so far-reaching that our actions in front of the consulate can be criminalized and they can file charges against us,” said migrant workers advocate Jesson Reyes. “Because there is an extradition treaty between the Philippines and the Government of Canada—the definition of terrorism is very broad.”
Youth group Anakbayan and the Toronto Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines said the passing of the legislation is an act of subservience to foreign domination.
“The Philippine people have been fed the illusion of democracy since 1946. The current US-Duterte regime has shown time and time again who it truly serves. It is further perpetuating the main problems of the Filipino people,” said Rosie Lucente of Anakbayan Toronto.
“We see the passing of the Anti-terror law as part of the same US economic domination that funds and trains the ruling elite and army in the Philippines,” said Muriam Salman. “These attacks place targets on the heads of the poorest Filipinos, workers, peasants from the most marginalized sectors of Filipino society.”
“The reason Duterte targets them is simple–it’s from these parts of Philippine society that the strongest resistance comes,” she added.
Crackdown on activists even before the signing of the new law was highlighted by Filipino women’s group Gabriela-Ontario. They talked about the false charges against political prisoner Reina Mae Nasino and rights defender Jenelyn Nagrampa. Police and the military had their power bolstered under the law, the group said.
Malaya Movement said in a statement that this recent move is a direct affront to human rights & democracy in the Philippines.
Other speakers included representatives from the Toronto Kurdish Community Centre, Young Japanese Canadians of Toronto, Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network and Palestinian Youth Movement.
A leader from Not Another Black Life rendered a song of solidarity and resistance.
The Wednesday protest in Toronto is part of a series of global days of action in major cities across the world and online to #JunkTerrorLaw. In other cities, similar actions were also organized. Flyers were distributed in Vancouver, various groups marched in Ottawa and a demonstration was held at the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg.
Amid crumbling support for Duterte and mounting opposition from overseas, petitions have been filed against the anti-terrorism law before the Philippine Supreme Court.
The controversial measure is expected to take effect on July 18.