HomeNewsPhilippine groups accuse government of misusing anti-terror laws

Philippine groups accuse government of misusing anti-terror laws

Civic organizations condemned what they described as targeted attacks and harassment through judicial and administrative means under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s administration. 

According to the groups, the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) has frozen assets and properties of several non-governmental organizations (NGOs), accusing them of financially supporting terrorism—a claim denied by the accused organizations. 

Some staff members have been labeled as terrorists or accused of violent crimes such as attempted murder.

“The current administration is using these measures more aggressively than its predecessor, disrupting essential services that millions depend on across the country,” said Jazmin Jerusalem, the Executive Director of the Leyte Center for Development (LCde) and spokesperson for the Defend NGO Alliance.

In a press briefing, the groups revealed that at least 59 development workers and 21 NGOs or networks throughout Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao face terrorism-related charges. Most of these charges have been filed since President Marcos Jr. took office.

These allegations follow a history of red-tagging and surveillance against these organizations, with some members facing extrajudicial killings. 

The groups said this has raised concerns about the violations of the rights to freedom of assembly and association.

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They said the impact of these governmental actions is significant. LCde, for example, had to halt projects affecting over 51,000 people due to frozen bank accounts. 

“These projects, funded by contributions from German taxpayers, were vital in providing health services and disaster response assistance,” Jerusalem said.

Similarly, the Paghidaet sa Kauswagan Development Group (PDG) faces accusations of supporting terrorism, affecting their ability to serve around 3,300 individuals in impoverished areas. 

Isidro Genol, Jr., a representative from PDG, expressed concerns over the effect on the morale and operational capacity of their staff and volunteers.

The Defend NGO Alliance called on the Philippine government to cease its hostile tactics against NGOs and to acknowledge their crucial role in national and community development. 

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