SHALL I feel secured or start feeling an intense fear? Once this House Bill (HB) No. 6875, otherwise known as the “Anti-Terrorism Law,” is approved, the life of everyone especially Meranaws will be in great danger. Why? The slippery and slimy vague provisions of this proposed law may open rooms for more abuses in this country.
I am an internally displaced person (IDP) of the Marawi siege in 2017. My house was destroyed during the war and I was not able to go back since then. I know that some would say that this law will protect other cities from the infiltration of terrorist groups; some would say that this law can mitigate the coming of a possible war with the government; and some will even say this is love for our people.
However, I am saying now that any law including this one will not stop a destroyer to create havoc in so many ways including a very silent means if wanted. Why is that so? Because, we are not sure of one’s mindset, principles and even values.
HB 6875 is understandably the government’s way to save this country and to strengthen our national security protocols. This is not the question. We all wanted to be secured. However, we cannot just sit down, watch people who are not rational enough to make use of this law as an excuse to abuse others.
In my lifetime, I have seen how some (not all) of our local government implementors and law enforcers abuse the powers given to them that have even caused unnecessary deaths and millions of lost funds for people who needed it the most. The sacrifice of the Moro people for centuries has been our inspiration in making this new Bangsamoro a reality. If there was a law like this vague HB 6875 in those years, we could have been in the realm of darkness, or worse in our graves by now.
I did not write about this house bill to review it nor to argue with the authors. I wrote because it is my right to express my opinion as a concerned citizen who has seen the colors of power during the Martial Law days in Marawi. I want to be active in raising awareness. We are under the protection of the Philippine Constitution and this proposed law has many inconsistencies that might lead to human rights violations. Hence, it has to be reviewed and revisited with the intention for it to be consistent with the current laws of the land.
Many things are happening around us these days. We might also suffer the difficulty of breathing (like what happened to Floyd) if we do not become vigilant with all the things going on around us. The world is suffering so much these days due to the Covid-19 pandemic and we see how moral degradation has been so evident even before but heightened and highlighted amid this health crisis.
We cannot allow a law that can give powers to people who are not rational enough to see differences between being a threat to the country and being a critical and liberal citizen who wanted to help others. I have seen how an innocent Mindanaoan lady was put to jail just because she was supporting hungry people who needed to be heard and be helped. I cannot imagine a world in the future that one is afraid of what a law enforcer can do to a woman who is forced to marry him otherwise the family will suffer as terrorists. God forbid! (Wa Naudubillah!)
Our people’s very unique, cloudy and messy interpretations of our traditional and religious beliefs that can even free a murderer in a rido case and force a seven-year-old girl to marry for political reasons will be the everyday nightmare of the Maranaws if this law pushes.
I, therefore, pray that it will not be signed at all.