Warning aired on expanded Human Security Act
MANILA, Philippines — Human rights abuses by the police and military would worsen with the proposed amendments to Republic Act No. 9372, or the Human Security Act of 2007 (HSA), pending in Congress, a militant lawmaker warned on Wednesday.
Assistant Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro said the proposed amendments being tackled by the joint House committees on public order and safety, and on national defense and security, would turn the HSA into an “even worse tool for repression and state terrorism.”
Broad, vague definition
Castro said, “The very broad and vague definition of terrorist acts … would tag as terrorist even legal acts, speeches and expressions.” The committees on Tuesday began deliberations to consolidate seven measures that seek to introduce amendments to the HSA.
According to Castro, the measures seek to remove safeguards against abuse of surveillance powers granted to law enforcement officials, and would also extend the allowable period of detention for persons suspected of terrorism, from three days without charges, to 30 days.
She cited how, under the present government, participation in rallies and membership in labor unions have been tagged as terrorist acts despite the participants legitimate causes.