MANILA, Philippines — Law-abiding Filipinos have nothing to fear about the anti-terrorism law, President Rodrigo Duterte said in a taped address aired early Wednesday.
Only terrorists, he said, should worry about the controversial law, which some critics fear would violate human rights.
“For the law-abiding citizen of this country, I am addressing you with all sincerity: Don’t be afraid if you’re not terrorists,” Duterte said, speaking partly in Filipino.
“But if you blow up a church, if you blow up a market place… the right to defend itself accrues to the government heavily,” he went on.
“As they say: ‘Duterte kills here and there. That’s true. If you kill people, I will really kill you. You can bet on that on the grave of your father and mother,” he said. “If you do that to the people, if you kill them wantonly, then I will take it as a right to kill you,=.”
On Friday, the President signed into law the proposed amendments seeking to strengthen the Human Security Act of 2007.
While the proponents of the new law assured the public that there were enough safeguards to prevent abuse, several groups and lawmakers expressed concern that the provisions of the law could be used to crack down on dissent.
Under the proposed measure, any person who threatens to commit terrorism and those who propose any terroristic act or incite others to commit terrorism could suffer the penalty of 12 years in prison.
The same penalty will also apply to any person who voluntarily joins any group knowing that it’s a terrorist organization and any person found to have been as accessory to the commission of terrorism.
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