Saturday, July 21, 2007

(UPDATED) Filipino students get involved in national security

By Erika Tapalla

QUEZON CITY, Philippines -- Ateneo de Manila University Student Council President Karl Satinitigan is encouraging a dialogue regarding the Human Security Act (HSA) or the Anti-Terror Law.

“Having a stand may not necessarily be the best way to address the issue,” said Satinitigan in an interview after meeting with other local universities. “After all, the Human Security Act has its merits and bad points and it may be necessary to soberly review it first.”

For the next few weeks, resource persons will discuss this issue with the student council with dates and venues to be announced later. So far, the Ateneo Human Rights Center, Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan and Kabataan Partylist, to name a few, have expressed great interest in the subject matter.

Considering the concerns of bishops and human rights advocates, Satinitigan believes students should be aware of the issue and vocalize their opinions to come up with constructive means to deal with the national security issue.

“We’re figuring out newer, more effective means of spreading the word,” said Satinitigan, “The challenge is to have something constructive out of all of this.”

On July 14, 2007, the HSA institutionalized protection against terrorism.

The Anti-Terror Law states that “It is State policy to protect life, liberty and property from acts of terrorism…dangerous to the national security of the country and to the welfare of the people, and to make terrorism a crime against the Filipino people, against humanity and against the law of nations.”

Although there is no clear-cut definition for the term “terrorism” agreed upon by the international community, Sec. 3 of the HSA illustrates examples of terrorism. Some samples include rebellion or insurrection, coup d’etat, piracy and mutiny in Philippine waters.

As a student body, Satinitigan stresses that it is the Sanggunian’s role to get the students involved in the national issue and present the entirety of the subject matter to facilitate free thinking and judgment.

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