Statement of the DILG on the Signing of Republic Act 11479 or The Anti-Terror Act of 2020

July 6, 2020
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año
July 4, 2020

The entire DILG family, including our attached agencies – National Police Commission, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Philippine Public Safety College, Local Government Academy, Philippine Commission on Women, National Youth Commission, and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos — would like to thank the 18th Congress and President Rodrigo Duterte for signing the Anti-Terror Bill into law yesterday.

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.

The signing of this law is an important step in the whole-of-nation approach against terrorism because it will give us the upper hand against communist terrorists and violent extremists who have sought legal cover under the obsolete provisions of the Human Security Act and had never been prosecuted nor jailed for their atrocious terror attacks against the nation and the Filipino people.

With this law, the government and our law enforcers, in particular, are better equipped to protect our 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.

The DILG will not allow this law to be abused and it will be used judiciously only for the purpose for which it was enacted — defeat the communist terrorists and violent extremists once and for all. We repeat that only the terrorists should fear this law and all law-abiding and peaceful citizens have nothing to fear.

We owe this law to the countless victims of terrorism -- from the indigenous peoples who were killed, the youth and children who were radicalized and made into child warriors, the legitimate businessmen who were milked and extorted, the many innocent civilians, including women, children and the elderly who were gunned down in terror attacks like the Rano Massacre, and the countless police and military officers and personnel who laid their lives fighting the terrorists. And who would forget the Marawi Siege and Zamboanga Siege where many lives were lost because of terror attacks? This law is the country’s assurance that justice will finally be served.

We all deserve to live in peace, safety and security with no worries or fear from the threats and criminal acts of terrorists and extremists. This law is not only for us but also for future generations who we hope will no longer live under the specter of terrorism.