THE Philippines plans to pass a National Security Act, similar to what other neighboring countries like Malaysia and Singapore have, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Saturday.
This emerged after President Rodrigo Duterte asked Congress to pass a national security code amid continued attacks by communist rebels.
“Maybe he meant [a] National Security Act similar to what the Malaysians or Singaporeans have,” Lorenzana said in a text message, replying to questions to clarify the President’s pronouncements last Thursday.
But he admitted he had yet to hear what the President said during his visit to killed-in-action soldiers at Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.
In a media interview, Duterte said he would ask Congress to pass a “national security code” and warned in the same breath communist rebels to stop their extortion activities.
“I am going to ask Congress to pass a national security code. The only ones frightened by this are the enemies of the state,” the President said, referring to the leftists.
Malaysia’s National Security Act, which came into force in 2006, allows search and arrests without warrants, property seizures and bans on demonstrations.
The legislation allows a National Security Council headed by Prime Minister Najib Razak to essentially suspend civil liberties in designated “security areas,” giving security forces sweeping powers of search, seizure and arrest.
Meanwhile, Singapore’s Internal Security Act enacted in 1960 grants the executive power to enforce preventive detention, prevent subversion, suppress organized violence against persons and property, and do other things incidental to Singapore’s internal security.
The ISA also empowers the authorities to prohibit political and quasi-military organizations, ban subversive documents and publications, shut down entertainments and exhibitions that are or are likely to be detrimental to the national interest, and to suppress organized violence by declaring parts of Singapore to be security areas.
The Palace has yet to respond to calls for clarifications on the President’s pronouncements.
While the Philippines has enacted Republic Act No. 9372, or the Human Security Act of 2007, which is the primary anti-terrorism law that aims at tackling militants in southern Philippines—it does not directly address threats posed by communist rebels.
Another law, Republic Act No. 7636, repealed another law, Republic Act 1700 or the Anti-Subversion Act.
During the Arroyo administration, several proposals were made to resurrect the Anti-Subversion Law in an effort to end the communist insurgency.
But critics then insisted it had since been supplanted by the Human Security Act and other laws that already provided adequate protection to the State against threat groups.
Following the fall of the peace talks, Duterte told the military to be “unforgiving” to the communist rebels amid their attacks against government forces.
“I’m ordering the military and the police, no forgiveness for the communists since they keep attacking us,” Duterte told a press conference after his second State of the Nation Address at the Batasang Pambansa Monday.
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