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Social Media May Soon Be 'Regulated' Under the Anti-Terror Law

The recommendation was made by the new AFP Chief.
IMAGE Facebook: youthstrike4climatePH, Jerome Ascano, pexels.com

Social media may soon be regulated in the Philippines under the anti-terror law, according to the new Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief, Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay.

The anti-terror law took effect on July 18, 2020, and has been a topic of much scrutiny and discussion on social media. Sen. Risa Hontiveros and Sen. Francis Pangilinan, who both voted against the bill, noted that the proposed measure might be misused to threaten public security and freedom with its vague explanation of what terrorism is. 

While the Department of Justice has 90 days from the effectivity date to promulgate (officially announce to the public) the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the law, it looks like the newly-appointed AFP chief already has suggestions. 

“We’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 terrorists to radicalize, to recruit and even plan terrorist acts,” Gapay reportedly said in a virtual press briefing, according to a report by Philstar.com. 

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The report also states that the new chief said the AFP has a say "on how the law may be implemented" because the military is at the forefront of combatting terrorism. As of writing, no further details on how the regulation will be implemented have been announced.

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16 Youth groups file petition to junk terror law

As of today, there have been 16 petitions filed by law practitioners and activist groups against the anti-terror law. Former Supreme Court justices Antonio Carpio and Conchita Carpio Morales, alongside members of the UP College of Law faculty and UP Diliman University Student Council councilor Tierone James Santos, filed the 12th petition.

Meanwhile, 16 youth groups joined together to file the 14th petition. "Youth organizations filed the petition on the grounds that the Anti-Terror Law imposes vague restrictions on freedom of speech, the provisions on warrantless arrest, and the Anti-Terror Council's power to designate directly contravene the constitutional right to due process, and the Act violates the separation of powers and the constitutional system of check and balances. Ultimately, the provisions of the Anti-Terror Law is on the definitions of terrorism and acts enticing terrorism is vague, therefore, void," Youth Strike 4 Climate Philippines wrote in a statement.

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Here is the list of the 16 youth-led and youth-serving organizations who signed the petition:

  • Youth Strike 4 Climate Philippines
  • Kabataang Tagapagtanggol ng Karapatan
  • Youth for Human Rights and Democracy
  • Youth Act Now Against Tyranny
  • Millennials PH
  • Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan
  • Good Gov PH
  • Liberal Youth of the Philippines
  • Aksyon Kabataan
  • La Salle Debate Society
  • De La Salle University Student Government
  • Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral ng Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila
  • University of the Philippines-Diliman University Student Council
  • University of Santo Tomas Central Student Council
  • National Union of Students of the Philippines
  • Student Council Alliance of the Philippines 

What are your thoughts on the possible regulation of social media? Let us know on Candy Bulletin!

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Ysabel Y. Yuzon
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