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Greg Slaughter joins protests against Anti-Terrorism bill

by Niel Victor Masoy, June 03, 2020 9:50pm

Former Barangay Ginebra San Miguel center Greg Slaughter went out of his way as he joined the protests against the House Bill 6875 or the Anti-Terrorism bill.

Taking to his social media pages on Wednesday, Slaughter encouraged people to denounce and sign the online petition against the controversial bill, which the House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on the third and final reading. 

The bill is just President Rodrigo Duterte's signature away from becoming a law.

"With all the abuse of power and oppression being exposed in the world today, this needs to be seen and heard as well. If this was passed in the USA, every person fighting for justice for #GeorgeFloyd would be labeled a terrorist," claimed the seven-foot Filipino-American center.

"I encourage everyone to speak up and let your voices be heard. Sign the petition, link in my bio. #JunkTerrorBill #ActivismIsNotTerrorism," added Slaughter, who previously announced he's taking an indefinite break from professional basketball after helping Ginebra in winning the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup.

The Anti-Terrorism bill defines terrorism as acts which might cause serious bodily injury and even death of a person's life. It also classifies people as terrorists if they cause extensive damage to both public and private properties and/ or critical infrastructures; and possess, create or develop, supply, transport, and use weapons such as explosives or of biological, nuclear, radiological, or chemical.

Furthermore, the bill describes terrorism as acts to intimidate or incite people to do acts of intimidation to the general public; and/ or spread fear.

Many people, especially online, expressed alarm over the hastily passage of the proposed measure amidst this COVID-19 pandemic, fearing that if passed into law, the government might use it to easily tag anyone as a terrorist, especially those who are critical of the current administration.

Human rights are also believed to be in jeopardy should the bill be passed into law.

Hashtags #JunkTerrorBill and #ActivismIsNotTerrorism has been trending for the past couple of days now.

That is exactly what Slaughter's message as he explained that should the controversial bill be passed into law in the US, the American government then can tag the protestors crying for justice for the slaying of African-American George Floyd as terrorists.

Should President Rodrigo Duterte signed it into law, even sans a warrant of arrest, the Anti-Terrorism Bill gives the authorities to arrest suspected terrorists, who can be detained up to 14 days, extendable by another 10 days. Under the current law, suspected terrorists can only be detained for three days. If proven guilty, 'terrorists' will serve at least 12 years behind bars. 

Additionally, the proposed bill allows the government to dole out more surveillance powers to authorities that seek to wiretap suspected terrorists.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, in an interview with CNN Philippines' The Source on Wednesday, tried to allay the fears of the people.

Lorenzana said people who are merely protesting will not be tagged as terrorists, especially if they carry out their activities peacefully.

"No. They’re not terrorists. Anybody who makes a peaceful protest... They’re not terrorists. It is inside our Constitution that you can do a peaceful protest or assembly," said Lorenzana.

"Depende, kung 'yung violence na 'yan is spontaneous... I don’t think these are terrorism. It’s only when it’s done very deliberately to manufacture weapons or bombs and to threaten people. It’s different from demonstrators actually," he added.

President Duterte called for the immediate passage of the Anti-Terrorism Bill on Monday with the hopes "to address the urgent need to strengthen the law on anti-terrorism" and "effectively contain the menace of terrorist acts."

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