We, in the Sowing the Seeds of Peace, reject the almost-certain signing of the Revised Human Security Act. In the light of today’s commemoration of Philippine Independence, it is a reversal of what our nation’s founders have fought for.
The Anti-Terror Bill echoes the Sedition Law, Reconcentration Law, Flag Law, Bandolerism/Anti-Banditry Law, and other similar impositions of the Spanish and American colonial periods. These were the very laws that were used to vilify, defame, imprison, torture and kill the fighters for our national freedom and independence. No doubt, if Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan were to stand trial today, they would be accused of being terrorists and of flagrantly violating the Anti-Terrorism Law.
In form and substance, the newly-passed Anti-Terrorism Bill is essentially the legitimization of state terrorism. It centralizes the power to label enemies and pursue fake cases against them through a non-judicial, unelected council. In effect, this council acts as a civil-military junta that can wield the HSA as a weapon for repression in the bogus name of counter-terrorism.
Since the US invasion of Iraq was unmasked as a war for oil masquerading as a war on terror, anti-terror programs all over the world have lost their moral and political ground. Curiously, however, the Philippine Congress has chosen to believe in the debunked and discredited hype of anti-terrorism.
Terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS have been exposed to have been created and financed by the Central Intelligence Agency and other state sponsors. This further de-legitimizes the framers of the anti-terror storyline which was promoted as the “new enemy” after the Cold War.
On the other hand, the fact remains that revolutionary and other armed movements all over the world, and here in the Philippines, continue to persist because the roots of armed conflict have not been addressed and resolved.
We go back therefore to the basic understanding that to achieve peace, we must resolve the root causes of armed conflict. To uproot terrorism, we must look into the driving forces of fundamentalisms and extremisms.
Thus, we renew our call for the resumption of the peace negotiations. There is no other viable alternative to armed conflict but the political resolution of the roots of this conflict. Terrorist tagging will merely be a repeat of the colonial times’ draconian measures against revolutionary forces and the people. Those who were tagged as terrorists in the past have become the harbingers of our country’s independence. Today, those who claim to be champions of the “national interest” are actually the agents of foreign domination and control. They claim to be going after terrorists but are actually the ones doing state-sponsored terrorism.
No to state terrorism, no to the bogus anti-terror bill.
Bishop Felixberto Calang
Main Convenor, Sowing the Seeds of Peace
12 June 2020