'We stand with Filipinos': US lawmakers urge PH to repeal anti-terror law

Jervis Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 16 2020 12:25 AM

MANILA - At least 45 representatives of the US Congress have called on the Philippine government to immediately repeal the controversial Anti-Terror Law of 2020.

The representatives, including Jan Schakowsky of Illinois and Judy Chu of California, wrote a letter to the Philippine ambassador to the US to call for the repealing of the measure.

In a virtual press conference, Schakowsky slammed the Duterte government for passing a law that may endanger the human rights situation in the country.

"This law is overbroad and we believe it's being used to stifle dissent and target civil society including human rights and groups in the Philippines," Schakowsky said.

"We fear it will be used against anyone who protest against the government, whether be it in the abuse of government or delay in distribution of COVID-19 aid, or any other grievance," she added.

Schakowsky's strong stance is a welcome addition to the growing number of organizations in the Philippines voicing criticism against the newly-signed law.

"We stand with Filipinos, Filipino-Americans, and grassroots organizations in the Philippines in demanding a genuine democracy where dissent is accepted and encouraged, instead of criminalized." the Illinois representative said.

Former legislator Neri Colmenares welcomed the support of Schakowsky and other US representatives against the measure.

Colmenares said it's important that US representatives are voicing out opposition against the law.

"It will really have a major pressure to the Philippine government to tone down its human rights attacks," he said.

"It may not be a very big deal in our colleagues to the US Congress or Senate, but in the Philippines, it will save lives," he added.

The Palace is yet to comment on the matter.

Two major protests against the law are scheduled this month.