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statements MANIFESTO ON THE HUMAN SECURITY ACT -- Tongtongan ti Umili
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A pall of unease, uncertainty and fear blankets us these days.
As a people traumatized by the cruelties of Martial Law, we have time and again vowed never to be brutalized by a reign of terror. Lives and dreams were sacrificed in the hope that generations after the Marcos dictatorship would live and breathe in a more humane and just society. We thwarted attempts by post-Marcos administrations to foist iron- fisted rule upon us because as a people we knew our power would let democracy prevail.

Today, past regimes pale in comparison to the viciousness of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government with its record of human rights violations. Aping the global police stance of American President George Bush who unleashed the unpopular borderless and all-out war on terror, the Philippine's commander-in-chief has allowed military agents to go on a rampage of unabated killings and enforced disappearances of civilians suspected to be sympathetic or associated with militant or progressive organizations. Worse, the government does not discern combatants from civilians and perceives sectors and organizations voicing dissent against an unjust and oppressive system as enemies of the state, rendering them hapless targets for annihilation.

The killings, disappearances and torture persist with impunity. And as if these were not enough heinous crimes of the state against the people, the Human Security Act of 2007 or Republic Act No. 9372 is vaunted by President Arroyo and her militarist advisers as "an act to secure the state and protect our people from terrorism". Despite major questions on its rationale, implication and impact on civil liberties, this shall take effect on July 15, 2007.

We dare ask, who defines terrorism, who brands one a terrorist? Amid the people's unrelenting call for an illegitimate leadership to step down, in the din of protests over policies that spell further poverty and social injustice, is it not just and imperative for citizens to demand reforms and change in leadership? Why does the state reply with bullets and an ominous law that will stifle freedom to express grievances? The existing Penal Code suffices for the persecution of criminals and lawless elements who wreak mayhem like the Abu Sayyaf. The enactment of the HSA is a sinister move towards another martial law era; it is an official declaration of GMA's autocracy. It portends of another dark passage in our history.

Let not this threat paralyze us, however. Let not the HSA make us cringe in fear, nor drive us into our comfort zones. We must constantly remind ourselves that this government has gone this far only because we are allowing it to trample on our rights as a people, as a community.

Let us find our voice again as we did before the death throes of Martial rule when we mustered strength and courage and found power on the streets. Let us find our voice again as we repelled the evils of corruption, plunder and inept leadership.
Let us altogether lift this blanket of doom that dares silence us. Let us resist the Human Security Act! ###

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