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More business groups join opposition to Anti-Terror Bill

Six more business groups on Monday added their voices to a collective statement expressing opposition to the controversial Anti-Terrorism Bill.

In a re-released statement, the Makati Business Club (MBC) said six business groups were added to the list of signatories of its earlier released statement against the bill.

"We are re-releasing our joint statement on Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 as six additional business organizations join us," the MBC said.

The groups are the Cebu Business Club (CBC), the Financial Executives of the Philippines (FINEX), the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA), the Philippine Ecozones Association, the Philippine Hotel Owners Association (PHOA), and the Women's Business Council Philippines.

"We, the undersigned, are united in voicing our opposition in the strongest possible terms to the enactment at this time of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 (House Bill 6875) recently approved by the House of Representatives on third and final reading, and a similar bill approved by the Senate (Senate Bill 1083) last February," the joint statement read.

Aside from the MBC, other signatories of the statement who earlier signed are the Bishops-Businessmen’s Conference for Human Development, Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), Investment House Association of the Philippines (IHAP), Judicial Reform Initiative (JRI), Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), Philippine Business for Education (PBEd), and the Subdivision and Housing Developers Association, Inc. (SHDA).

"[T]he Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 is highly divisive - because it poses clear and present danger to human rights enshrined in our Constitution - at a time when our nation needs to come together as one," the joint statement read.

The controversial Anti-Terrorism Bill is now awaiting only the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte, after the House of Representatives approved the measure on third and final reading last week.

Several human rights have expressed alarm over certain provisions of the measure, which they said could be abused and effectively "dilute human rights safeguards."

Members of the academe have also voiced their opposition to the measure, which they said would only bring additional burden to the people amid the COVID pandemic. — BM, GMA News