We, members of campus publications of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, the oldest, broadest, and only-existing alliance of student publications in Asia-Pacific, vehemently object the Duterte administration’s draconian measure—Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, as it poses a perilous act against our rights to freedom of the press and of expression.
On May 29, the House Committee on Public Order and Safety with National Defense and Security adopted the Senate’s version, repealing the older measure of Human Security Act of 2007.
The over-broad and vague definition of Anti-Terror Bill subjects everyone as a “terrorist.” This is an extremely ruthless, fascist, and unreasonable measure to quell the people’s democratic rights.
Instead of addressing the people’s demands, Duterte resorted to a three-month military lockdown where attacks on human rights have been intensified. This fascist gimmick exposed its administration’s eager intention to trample the democratic rights of the Filipino people.
The government, as duly-elected by the citizen, should do its part of heeding the cries of its people. Now, more than ever, we need mass testing and socio-economic assistance instead of a draconian law. The administration has turned a blind eye to what we truly need because of it its conceitedness and hunger for validation. When we all are imperiled because of a virus, please remember that the government prioritized the excessive enabling of state forces.
In such trying times, we are in need of our powers to submit petitions for redress of grievances—this is enshrined in our bill of rights. The administration should be prioritizing assistance and people should be able to complain without fear of reprisals.
Duterte is exerting all his efforts to intimidate truth-tellers and rights advocates because he is adamant about avoiding the realization of his dictatorship and evil wrongdoings.
However, the alliance of campus press shall not let this pass.
In such trying times, history has proven that student journalists’ imperative role is upon overthrowing a malevolent administration. The fearless and militant years of struggle for genuine press freedom and protection for the rights of the Filipino people have been echoing until today.
Now more than ever, we need to unite to solidify our line for us to win this battle. Filipino people have had enough and will not allow the bolstering of Duterte’s tyrannical rule.
Let it be known that the alliance of campus press will never be an echo chamber of this regime’s attempt to intimidate and curtail the freedom of the press or even ordinary citizens.
As bastion for truth, freedom, and justice, we vow to fight as a growing resistance against Duterte’s dictatorship.