As a case of racism translated to murder triggers nationwide protests in the US like scattered landmines, a cry versus a human rights-impeding bill heats up the socio-political climate here at home.
On Thursday, Malacañang announced that President Rodrigo Duterte will give the House Bill No. 6875 a final review. The president earlier this week sought the bill, which amends the Human Security Act of 2007, to "address the urgent need to strengthen the law on anti-terrorism in order to inadequately and effectively contain the menace of terrorist acts for the preservation of national security and the promotion of general welfare."
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The controversial bill broadening the definition of "terrorism" has led many human rights advocates to fight its passage. Its "urgency" amid a pandemic has raised further skepticism of political agenda and red-tagging, as the nation—sunken in PHP 8.6 trillion debt just last April—demands for mass testing.
Celebrities recently joined online protests via the #JunkTerrorBill and #JunkTerrorBillNOW campaign. Using their heavily-followed social media platforms, some of these much-idolized role models lent their voices to the ongoing conversation.
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In the international level, American pop star Taylor Swift posted a link on her Instagram that directed her followers to a list of causes including the #JunkTerrorBill campaign.
Locally, Nadine Lustre was among the first to weigh in on the issue, posting the hashtag on her Instagram story on the morning of June 2.
Lustre's contemporaries followed suit, with Liza Soberano and Kathryn Bernardo objecting the bill's passage on their Twitter accounts:
Our very own Miss Universe winners Pia Wurtzbach and Catriona Gray also declared their thoughts against the bill, tweeting the same hashtag and posting lists of resources in which people can help.
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Wurtzbach opened up, saying she "...never really liked commenting about politics simply cos (she) felt like (she) didn't know enough." She then mentioned she hardly uses her Twitter, "but I realized that I need my voice back... and I need to use it."
She also shared how the recent events have pushed her to finally speak up. "Parang di mo alam kung maiiyak ka o magagalit," she said, "parang pakiramdam mo minsan powerless ka."
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Meanwhile, Gray said that with everything "happening in the world and in our nation right now," that it could be overwhelming. "But please," she followed, "don't allow that to be the reason we revert into silence and turn a blind eye."
"We need to stay engaged," she continued, "because this is where our voices count. So let's help each other by creating spaces that help us keep each other informed and help us understand what's going on."
She later added relevant resources where people can learn more about the law while encouraging people to likewise "research and digest information, and come to (their) own conclusions."
Of this, Wurtzbach and Gray even received comparisons to Maita Gomez—a 60s beauty queen-turned-activist during Ferdinand Marcos' regime—from netizens.
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Banner image by Xymei Crisostomo