Anti-Terror law met with criticism at environmental forum

Anti-Terror law met with criticism at environmental forum

The Anti-Terror law and its implications on the environment was the subject of the 361st session of the monthly Kamayan Para sa Kalikasan Forum held on July 17, 2020 through an online webinar hosted by Green Convergence.

The law was criticized by human rights lawyer Neri Colmenares, who described the definition of terrorism as “very overboard”.

“In the first place, that is a very vague law” he said, and added “I am a lawyer, but I wouldn’t understand what act is prohibited [by that law]”.

(Ako, abogado po ako ah. But I wouldn’t understand kung anong act ang pinoprohibit niyan)

Atty. Colmenares gave an example where environmental activists who interfere with destructive mining activities can fall under the definition of terrorism. “In fact, under that definition, EDSA 1, People Power, is nothing more than a terrorist act” he also added.

“[The Anti-Terror law] is an act of state terrorism” asserted Sr. Mary John Mananzan, OSB, one of the oldest activists in the Philippines.

“Since President Duterte assumed office in 2016, at least 113 environmental and land activists were already murdered which is much higher than during the previous administration” cited Sr. Mananzan from Marlon Pareja, Associate Professor of Biology from De La Salle University Dasmarinas.

Under the new law, “this overbroad definition of terrorist acts will only worsen the current abuses environment defenders face in the Philippines…authorities can still find a way to use this law against environment defenders.” She said.

“Our Mother Earth will suffer when those who care for her are terrorized and killed.” She also added.

“The environmental defenders and environmental activists are now an endangered species” said Marie Marciano, Vice-President of Green Convergence.

“With this law, we can expect that the abuses will rise” she noted.

Since March 1990, Kamayan Para Sa Kalikasan Forum, held every 3rd Friday of each month, has become an institutionalized platform that enables NGO and government representatives, the media, students, teachers, church groups, and concerned citizens to discuss pressing environmental issues in the country. The forum is organized by Green Convergence and is supported by Kamayan Restaurant EDSA with the assistance of the Forest Foundation Philippines.


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