Labor: Anti-terror law will erode civil liberties

THE General Alliance of Workers Associations (Gawa) has reiterated its vehement opposition against the Anti-Terror Law signed on Friday, July 3, 2020, by President Rodrigo Duterte, its top official said.

Wennie Sancho, secretary-general of Gawa, said the labor group avers that the dark side of this law will surface in the suppression of legitimate dissent when activists and political dissenters would be "wrongfully accused" as terrorists.

Sancho said the painful consequences would be the erosion of our civil liberties. It even provides the justifications for whatever atrocities have been committed and will be committed by its implementors.

"It will cause the general demoralization of a people who once enjoyed the feeling of being loved and respected," he added.

Gawa, in a statement, said there's a need to stand up and strongly oppose the imposition of raw power against the powerless and the poor.

"We must protest against the curtailment of our freedom of expression, to speak and to write according to our conscience, to bravely denounce the arrogance of power by some of our leaders in the government," it said, adding that "our involvement is a reflection of growing intellectual resistance to tyranny."

Sancho, also the labor representative to the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB)-Western Visayas, said it is "time to take a deep breath" and examine the premises on which political leaders are acting on vital matters of decision-making, such as the highhanded and overbearing hearing on the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN by the lower house and the immediate signing of the Anti-Terror Law despite the pandemic.

"All of these affect our civil and political rights," he said.

The labor leader further said that the image and reputation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police had suffered deterioration among the citizenry, leaving doubts in their faithfulness and sincerity to implement the law "under the security state and strongman-populist style of national leadership, let alone the record of human rights violations."


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