Amend anti-terror law now

August 19, 2019

THE country’s 12-year-old anti-terrorism law must be updated soon to cope with the digital, transnational, and evolving nature of terrorism, Senator Imee R. Marcos said yesterday.

New modes of terrorism and what used to be mere predicate crimes are now main offenses punishable with life imprisonment or a possible death penalty in Senate Bill 630, which Marcos filed to give more teeth to the Human Security Act of 2007.

“Terrorist activity in Philippine territory has become frequent and commonplace,” Marcos said, citing the first recorded case of a Filipino suicide bomber in Sulu last July and the conviction of two terrorist suspects that included an Indonesian earlier this year.

Unmentioned in the present law, cyber attacks on computer systems are considered punishable terrorist acts in the Marcos bill and would compel system providers to give customer information to law enforcers.

Recruiting terrorists and glorifying violent acts that sow fear and panic among the public or threaten the government or public services, whether done personally or through the media, are also in the bill’s roster of terrorist acts.

“Neither religion, ideology, politics, nor economic goals can excuse acts of violent extremism,” said Marcos.

Marcos added naming the violent use of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear material as terrorist acts will also harmonize national law with international agreements.