The Anti-Terrorism Bill or HB 6875 is presently in the office of the President. He may choose to sign it, veto the bill, or let it lapse into law if he takes no action by the 9th of July. Since the Anti-Terrorism Bill has been certified as urgent, Filipinos citizens have turned to their representatives and congressmen to withdraw their “Yes” votes for the bill, which led to 13 withdrawals that would have made a significant change, had the bill not been endorsed to Malacanang.
In spite of this, artists have not been afraid to express their dissent against the bill. An online campaign #ARTISTSFIGHTBACK is an ongoing petition gathers artist across different disciplines to make a stand. #ArtistsFightBack is a joint statement of Philippine Artists, creatives & cultural workers on the passing of HB 6875 or the Anti-Terrorism Bill. The petition points out why the Anti-Terrorism Bill proves a threat to the freedom of expression.
“We, the signatories of this statement, have done our duty as citizens by studying the bill and discussing it amongst our peers and lawyers alike. It is clear: the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 is filled with provisions that make it problematic and prone to abuse.
A standout example for us in the creative sector is its Section 9: (Inciting to Commit Terrorism), where it is stated that any person who, despite the lack of a direct part in it, incites others to commit or participate in acts that the bill considers as terrorist may be jailed for up to 12 years.
As artists, we are vulnerable to the subjectivity and the impreciseness of this section. Our job, quite literally, is to incite. To trigger emotion and to question. To move. To mobilize. Our responsibility is to serve the truth, whether or not it is aligned or in accordance with the government’s stance. This is a clear impingement on the Constitutional right to freedom of expression, not just of artists, but of any Filipino who should be allowed to express dissent.”
The Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP), Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo (LIRA), Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), and University of the Philippines Film Institute (UPFI) are some of the organizations who have shown support for the petition. Celebrities such as Angelica Panganiban, Pia Magalona, and Lav Diaz have also signed the petition.
Sign the petition: https://www.dakila.org.ph/artists_fight_back