Activism is now considered terrorism in the Philippines

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 17) — The implementing rules and regulations of the Anti-Terrorism Act explicitly states that protests and other exercises of civil and political rights may be considered as terrorism, if they fall within the law’s definition which has been criticized as overbroad.

Under Section 4 of Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, terrorism shall not include advocacy, protest, dissent, stoppage of work, industrial or mass action, and other similar exercises of civil and political rights – as long as these are not intended to endanger a person or pose a “serious risk” to public safety.

The IRR, released on Saturday by the Department of Justice, expands this provision, saying people who engage in these acts may be held liable for the crime of terrorism when the purpose of their engagement is any of the following:

• Intimidate the general public or a segment thereof;

• Create an atmosphere of or spread a message of fear;

• Provoke or influence by intimidation the government or any international organization ;

• Seriously destabilize or destroy the fundamental political, economic, or social structures;

• Create a public emergency or seriously undermine public safety

“The burden of proving such intent lies within the prosecution arm of the government,” the IRR states.

Lawmakers who authored and sponsored the measure, as well as the officials who supported it, have cited Section 4 to allay fears that the anti-terrorism law could be used to go after government critics.

Source: IRR explains: When can protests be considered terrorism?

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