Senators have been working hard to make Filipinos “feel safe” in their homes and communities.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III stressed this on Friday amid some opposition to the upper chamber’s passage of the Anti Terrorism Act of 2020 which repealed the Human Security Act of 2007.
Voting 19-2, the Senate on February 26 approved on third and final reading Senate Bill No. 1083 which provides a “strong legal structure that deals with terrorism.”
Opposition Senators Francis Pangilinan and Risa Hontiveros voted “no” to the passage of SBN 1083 on the ground that some of its provisions violate human rights.
“The threat of nefarious individuals disrupting our peaceful lives is something that we all fear about, but is something that lawmakers can do something about,” Sotto said.
“This (anti-terrorism) measure seeks to do just this – to bring peace of mind and heart among Filipinos that they are safe from the menace of terrorists,” he said.
Sotto added, “The approval by the Senate of the new Anti-Terror Act comes at the most opportune time as the government moves to strengthen its security forces in their determined fight against international and local terrorism.”
He said SBN 1083 “guarantees that those who will be part of bringing terror among our people will be made accountable and punished for their actions.”
“We remain hopeful that the punitive and legal sanctions will discourage our people, especially the young, from giving up their freedoms and joining the cause of terrorist groups,” Sotto said.
“Let me also assure our friends and allies critical of the government that this measure cannot be used to harass and silence them,” he said.
The Senate chief said that there are “sufficient safeguards in the legislation that bars law enforcers from abusing the law and using it to persecute those who are perceived to be political enemies of the State.”
“I am confident that this measure will help make our country safe from global and local threats, and help make true our ultimate prayer of peace for our families and love ones,” Sotto said.