TACLOBAN CITY – Mayor Richard Gomez has said the people and the local government of Ormoc City support the enactment into law of the Anti-Terrorism Bill to drive economic growth and discourage extremism in the country.
“At a time when there is a pressing need to restart the economy, we ought to project before the international investment community and tourism sector a much-enhanced peace and order environment in the Philippines, which only marginalizes extremist elements in our society, both from within and without,” Gomez said in a brief statement posted on the city government’s Facebook page late Thursday.
He added that the proposed measure has enough safeguards to preserve the people’s democratic space and is comparable, if not better, to similar laws of other member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“As the city mayor, I believe we need this law. If not now, then when?” Gomez said.
On Tuesday, Malacañang received a copy of the anti-terrorism bill that is now up for President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature.
Under the bill, persons who voluntarily and knowingly join any organization, association, or group of persons knowing that such is a terrorist organization, will suffer imprisonment of 12 years.
Suspected persons can be detained for 14 days without a warrant of arrest with an allowable 10-day extension.
A 60-day surveillance on suspected terrorists can also be launched by the police or the military, with an allowable 30-day extension. (GERICO SABALZA/PNA)