THE signing into law of the Anti-Terror Bill is an important step against terrorism since it will give government the upper hand against communist terrorists and violent extremists who have sought legal cover under the obsolete provisions of the Human Security Act.
This was aired yesterday by Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano as he and the entire DILG family including its attached agencies -- the National Police Commission, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Philippine Public Safetty College, Local Government Academy, Philippine Commission on Women, National Youth Commission and the National Commission on Muslim Filipiinos -- thanked the 18th Congress and President Duterte for signing the law.
Ano said that with this law, the government -- the law enforcers in particular -- are now better equipped to protect the people and ensure their safety against the clear and present danger of terrorists.
"We assure the Filipino people that this law will never be a tool for oppression nor will it curtail the freedom of speech as it has safeguards against human rights violations and abuses on the part of law enforcers," Ano said in a statement.
The DILG according to Ano, will never allow this law to be abused and that it will be used judiciously only for the purpose for which it was enacted which is to defeat the terrorists and extremists once and for all.
He said that only the terrorists should fear this law.
This law, Ano added, is for the countless victims of terrorism -- from the indigenous who were killed and the youth and children who were radicalized and made into child warriors.
The DILG chief also expressed confidence that the law would finally put a stop to the extortion of legitimate businessmen and the killing of innocent civilians including women and children.
"And who would ever forget the Marawi Seige and Zamboanga Siege where many lives were lost because of terror attacks," Ano said.
"We thank the President under whose strong leadership this historic legislation was signed, the senators and the members of the House of Representatives who crossed party lines and placed the interest of the nation first, and our local government officials who from day one have expressed their support for the passage of this law for the safety and security of their constituents against all terrorist groups," he added.