MANILA– Filipinos could expect more peaceful nights, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año claimed Wednesday following the signing of the anti-terror law which is set to take effect this week.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11479, or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 on July 3 despite heavy opposition over fears it could be used to silence government critics.
The new law, which is expected to take effect on July 18, is facing at least eight legal challenges before the Supreme Court on fears that it could be abused to violate basic rights due to the broad definition of "terrorism."
"At ngayon batas na ang Anti-Terrorism Law, mas magiging mahimbing ang mga gabi dahil alam natin ligtas ang ating mga anak laban sa mga nagbabadyang nakawin ang kanilang mga kinabukasan," Año said during a forum ahead of President Duterte's penultimate State of the Nation Address this month.
(Now that the Anti-Terrorism Law is enacted, nights will be more peaceful because we know that our children are safe from those planning to steal their future.)
A former military chief, Año added that the new law would pave for a safer environment for children.
"Our children deserve to be raised in safe and secure communities, so let us give them an environment where they are free to dream and aim for a better future," Año said.
The stricter anti-terror law comes as the Philippines continued efforts to stop terror activities, including kidnappings and bombing operations of the Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf group, extremists that the United Nations tagged as terrorists in 2001.
In 2017, the Duterte administration had to quell a 5-month siege waged by local terror group Maute, also linked to ISIS, in the southern city of Marawi.