New military chief eyes 'regulating' social media to combat radicalization

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 03 2020 07:07 PM

MANILA — The new head of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said he was eyeing to "regulate" social media, which he claims had become a platform used by terrorists in radicalizing and recruiting future members.

AFP Chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay formally assumed the top post of the AFP on Monday, replacing Gen. Felimon Santos, Jr. who bowed out of the service upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56.

During his first press conference, Gapay was asked about the controversial Republic Act 11479 or Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which is currently facing over 20 petitions at the Supreme Court over issues of constitutionality.

"[W]e'll be providing some inputs on countering violent extremism and likewise maybe regulating, even regulating social media because this is the platform now being used by the terrorists to radicalize, to recruit and even plan terrorist acts," Gapay told a press conference Monday.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Department of Justice is now in the process of drafting the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the new law.

"We have just had our first Anti-Terrorism Council meeting last week and I believe all of us will be provided the draft of the IRR, look at it. It's still a work in progress," said Lorenzana in the same press conference.

Gapay added the AFP will suggest mechanisms to address the threats of terrorism in the country, particularity to enhance intelligence sharing, not only domestically, but with foreign counterparts.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the law on July 3 despite opposition over fears it could be used to silence government critics.

—Reports from Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News