South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said the local government will convene leaders and representatives of civil society groups, media, religious sects, government prosecutors and law enforcement agencies to discuss the key points of the new measure,
which is the country's own version of the anti-terrorism law.
"We want the public to be properly informed about its provisions and for the implementers to be aware of the proper guidelines to avoid any abuses during its implementation," she said.
The Human Security Act of 2007, described as an "Act to Secure the State and Protect our People from Terrorism," was signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last March 6.
The law's Declaration of Policy states that: "It is the policy of the State to protect life, liberty, and property from acts of terrorism as inimical and dangerous to the national security of the country and welfare of the people, and to make terrorism a crime against the Filipino people, against humanity, and against the law of nations."
Under the law, the crime of terrorism includes piracy in general or mutiny in high seas; rebellion or insurrection; coup d'etat, including acts committed by private persons; murder; kidnapping and serious illegal detention; and, crimes involving destruction such as arson.
The crime of terrorism is punishable by 40 years of imprisonment without the benefit of parole.
Fuentes said they will provide copies of the new law to all concerned sectors and will later sponsor lectures in colleges and universities in the area.
"We want the people to know their rights and what their alternatives are in case they will be slapped with its provisions. We also want to monitor its implementation to make sure that it will not be used to violate our basic human rights," she added.(Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)