We, the organizations, fraternities, and sororities, of the Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (STAND UP) and other university organizations firmly stand against the Anti-Terrorism Bill and all attacks on the Filipinos’ democratic rights. Despite the lack of mass testing amidst the pandemic, the Duterte administration prioritizes to curtail our dissent and put our lives in a dangerous disposition.
With a 173-31-29 vote, the House of Representatives approves the Anti-Terrorism Bill on its third and final reading. The bill gives a free pass for our nation’s leaders to brand us as “terrorists,” all for the sole reason that we criticize and/or are against their anti-people policies. The bill also allows state forces to abuse their abilities, warrantless arrests of individuals “suspected” to be terrorists, state surveillance, and the undermining of the autonomy of various institutions, including, but not limited to, universities and private entities.
Multiple followers of the administration assert that there is nothing to be afraid of if you are not a terrorist or if you are not involved with terrorists. However, what they fail to take into account is that in Duterte’s term, many lives have been violently threatened, tortured, and taken because of mere suspicion. With the likes of Kian delos Santos, Karen Empeño, and Sherlyn Cadapan, all who were suspected of being involved in criminal acts without solid evidence, it is clear that anyone can be a victim under the Anti-Terrorism Bill if this becomes law. Instead of providing safety and security to the people, the bill, its principal authors, and all leaders who support it are only sowing mass fear and paranoia.
But there is nothing to fear from an administration that fears the collective power of its people. The administration’s attempt to suppress our anger and dissent was only met with the continuous fervent agitation of the masses. The fast-tracking of the bill further infuriates the people because the country needs free, efficient mass testing and other necessary measures to effectively ease down the pandemic. The urgency that the administration’s officials put on the bill clearly shows where their priorities lie – and that is on their self-serving interests rather than the masses’ needs. In addition, the militaristic approach in responding to the pandemic, an approach that Duterte fully allows and supports, is found to be futile and inhumane. Duterte has yet to pay the price for the deaths of thousands of innocent people, yet he chooses to aggravate our country’s situation even more. What Duterte and his cronies have certainly proven is that they are the terrorists, for they are the ones who abuse their power to inflict threats and violence on the people under the guise of “serving and protecting” them.
We are calling on our Congressmen and Senators to withdraw their support for this repressive legislation that will deprive the people of their democratic rights. They are elected to represent their constituents, not to become mere pawns of the administration to establish its fascist rule. In the middle of this pandemic where millions of people are affected, they still chose to focus on this anti-democratic legislation to further establish their militaristic solution instead of focusing on the call of the Filipino people for medical and pro-people solutions. We also enjoin everyone to uphold our democracy and join the call to junk the Anti-Terrorism Bill. It is important for us to speak up against the blatant disregard of our human rights. Dissent and activism is not and will never be a form of terrorism.
In line with this, we enjoin everyone to be part of all other forms of protest against the Duterte administration’s anti-people policies. The conditions now leave us no other option to speak up and fight. In our collective power, we can dismantle the tyranny and dictatorship and achieve a genuinely free society for all.
Anakbayan UP Diliman
League of Filipino Students – UP Diliman
UJP UP Diliman
UP Cinema as Art Movement
Anakbayan – College of Science
UP Tau Rho Xi Fraternity
Alay Sining Fine Arts
Alay Sining KAL
STAND UP CHE
UP Artists’ Circle Fraternity
UP Mining, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Association, Inc.
League of Filipino Students – CSSP
League of Filipino Students – Engineering
UP Engineering Society – Diliman
STAND UP AIT
STAND UP CAL
Agham Youth – UP Diliman
Gabriela Youth – UP Diliman
UP Volunteers for Children
Alpha Phi Omega Sorority – Eta Chapter
Sigma Delta Pi Sorority UP Diliman
STAND UP CMC
Bahaghari – UP Diliman Chapter
Kabataan Partylist – UP Diliman
UP Sigma Kappa Pi Fraternity
SALiGAN sa CSSP
Alay Sining Eduk
STAND UP Eduk