June 1, 2020

Activism is not terrorism

The Philippine government’s military response to the public health emergency posed by COVID-19 has revealed gaps in governance which have further marginalized working class communities. These communities, which are already among the most vulnerable to the worst impacts of climate change, now also have to contend with the loss of livelihood and the risk of exposure to the virus.

As these communities grapple the most with the double threat of the pandemic and the climate crisis, activism plays a crucial role in empowering citizens to assert their rights and demand accountability from its elected leaders.

Photo: AC Dimatatac

The proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 attempts to undermine constitutionally protected rights to political expression and dissent by equating activism with terrorist activities that are defined under the bill.

Fast tracking the anti-terrorism bill at this time sends a message that the government would rather have the police and military expend its resources to quell voices of dissent and impute fault on its citizens instead of addressing its failure to flatten the COVID-19 curve.

We find this response a disservice to the nation’s frontliners and its most affected communities. Now more than ever, the government should focus on strengthening our healthcare system through crucial measures like mass testing, contact tracing and providing social protection to the most vulnerable. 

Contact: Chuck Baclagon, [email protected]

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