Anti-terror bill to speed up neutralization of threats: Army

By Priam Nepomuceno

June 5, 2020, 9:05 am

<p>Philippine Army commander, Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay. <em>(File photo)</em></p>

Philippine Army commander, Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay. (File photo)

MANILA – The Philippine Army (PA) said it is optimistic that the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 will allow them to neutralize terrorists before they can conduct deadly attacks.

"We are optimistic that the Anti-Terror Bill (ATB) will enable us to go after terrorists before they seize opportunities to endanger public safety," Army commander Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay said in a statement late Thursday.

He added that the PA supports House Bill 6875 or the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 which the House of Representatives approved it on third and final reading on Wednesday.

"Contrary to the massive disinformation campaign that supposes some civil and political rights are curtailed, the provisions of the ATB will allow us to secure our people from terroristic acts that are perpetrated when we least expect it," Gapay said.

The landmark legislation seeks to prevent, prohibit, and penalize terrorism.

The bill introduces provisions imposing life imprisonment without parole on those who will participate in the planning, training, preparation, and facilitation of a terrorist act; possess objects connected with the preparation for the commission of terrorism; or collect or make documents connected with the preparation of terrorism.

Under the bill, any person who shall threaten to commit terrorism shall suffer the penalty of 12 years. The same jail term will be meted against those who will propose any terroristic acts or incite others to commit terrorism.

Any person who shall voluntarily and knowingly join any organization, association, or group of persons knowing that such is a terrorist organization, shall suffer imprisonment of 12 years.

Under the bill, the number of days a suspected person can be detained without a warrant of arrest is 14 calendar days, extendible by 10 days. (PNA)