MANILA, Philippines — With the support of 173 (YES) House members, the controversial House Bill (HB) No. 6875 or “The Anti-Terrorist Act” is geared to overhaul some provisions of the 2007 Human Security Act (HSA) in order to strengthen the country’s capability against acts of terrorism. This will now be transmitted to the Office of the President to be signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The Anti-Terrorism Bill has since received great public backlash from human rights activists, lawyers, the academe and individuals particularly due to its “dangerous” measures, “broad” and “vague” scope of what acts are considered terrorism and who can be tagged as terrorist as well as provisions that are said to be unconstitutional.
In a report by WR Numero Research, they sought to gauge the opinions of the public regarding the Anti-Terrorism Bill and presented the levels of political support towards it.
The results of the convenience survey showed that 4 out of 10 respondents support the Anti-Terrorism Bill while 39% are unsure about it.
The survey also revealed that 7 out of 10 are concerned about the forthcoming approval of the bill, while 29% are not concerned at all.
Meanwhile, 4 out 10 believe that the Anti-Terrorism Act will result in increased human rights violations, while a third believe that human rights violations will be lessened. Finally, majority think that the Anti-Terrorism Bill targets extremist groups and communist rebels.
Digital sentiments data, on the other hand, showed a steady opposition for the Anti-Terrorism Bill. Criticisms towards the bill fell from 73% on June 1 to 54% on June 4, while support for it amplified from 5% to 35% within the same period.
Calls for urgent response to COVID-19 were steady within the first three days but decreased on the last day. Overall, digital sentiments regarding the Anti-Terrorism Bill still showed a significant disapproval for it.