A year has passed since the controversial anti-terror law (ATL) was signed, despite intense opposition from several sectors.
Since the passing of the anti-terror law, numerous petitions have also been filed against it in the Supreme Court and oral arguments were held. Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo earlier said the Supreme court would “try its best” to rule on the case within the year.
The anti-terror law is described by critics as a threat to democracy. Activists and critics alike have raised concerns that the about how the law gives the government power to arrest or detain dissenting individuals and groups due to the policy’s vague definition of terrorism.
Two Aetas have been charged, jailed, and put on trial for terrorism, and 19 people – including a recently freed peace consultant – have been designated terrorists under one of the law’s contentious arbitrary powers.
To help shed light on how communities can continue to fight for their rights, MovePH and De La Salle University Student Government (DLSU USG) will hold webinars titled “#DefendDemocracy: The effects of ATL on dissenters and communities” on Friday, July 16, and “#DefendDemocracy: Fighting against anti-terror law” on Saturday, July 17, both at 3 pm Manila time respectively via Zoom.
The webinars are co-presented by the #CourageON: No Lockdown on Rights coalition, which brings together groups from various sectors in to amplify opportunities for collective action to promote and defend human rights.
The webinars aim to answer questions about the health of the Philippine democracy, and share possible actions that communities can employ to help defend their rights, despite pandemic and quarantine restrictions.
The following are the topics and invited panelists to the #DefendDemocracy webinars:
#DefendDemocracy: The effects of ATL on Dissenters and Communities (July 16, 3 pm):
- “Human rights issues and the anti-terror law” – Commission on Human Rights Commissioner Karen S. Gomez-Dumpit
- “The power of mobilizing the youth against red-tagging of student leaders and campus journalists” – Kabataan representative Sarah Elago
- “Red-tagging of major universities and the safety of educators and students” – College Editors Guild of the Philippines National Deputy Secretary-General Regina Tolentino
- “Human rights situation updates on affected Lumad communities” – Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV) Teacher Chad Errol Booc
#DefendDemocracy: Fighting Against Anti-Terror Law (July 17, 3 pm)
- “Protecting our constitutional rights under the anti-terror law” – National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers Chairperson Neri Colmenares
- “Anti-terror law and cases of mistaken identity” – Human rights lawyer and peace advocate Algamar Latiph
- “Protecting campus press freedom: The magna carta for campus journalists against anti-terror law” – National Union of Journalists of the Philippines Chairperson Jonathan de Santos