The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) assured the public that it would respect the civil and political rights of the people following the approval of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).

arevalo - AFP assures respect of civil, political rights
Philippine Armed Forces Spokesperson Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

AFP spokesman Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said law-abiding people should not be afraid of the law since the Anti-Terrorism Act is intended for the members of the local and international terrorist groups.

Various groups and individuals have challenged the Anti-Terrorism Law before the Supreme Court due to alleged vague provisions that would empower any current administration to weaponize it in persecuting political opponents and harassing critics.

But for the military, the law will capacitate and empower the AFP to run after, assist in the arrest and prosecution, and secure the country and the Filipino people against terrorist organizations, associations, groups, individuals, proponents, and supporters.

“It should be terrorists and abettors and not law-abiding citizens who should be spooked by the passage of the law and the approval of the corresponding IRR. The AFP is optimistic that the law and its IRR will be an effective deterrence to terrorists,” said Arevalo.

For his part, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Col. Ysmael Yu said there are still processes that would be done after the approval of the IRR, including a coordination meeting to discuss the role of the police.

“After our role is defined, we will be crafting a master plan pertaining to the Anti-Terror Law so that every unit of the Philippine National Police will have defined tasks to perform,” said Yu.

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