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Journalist protests antiterror bill through face masks; gives them away on Independence Day

In line with the country’s celebration of Independence Day, a journalist is giving away free face masks to help others voice their sentiments on the controversial antiterrorism bill amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The statement masks, made by Aie Balagtas See and her 13-year-old sister, bear phrases like “Mañanita” and “Junk Terror Bill.”

In an interview with GMA News Online, Balagtas said she and her sister were launching “Project Busal,” which aims to “protect free speech and free expression by stitching our common sentiments on statement masks."

The project also aims to “ensure that Filipinos will not be gagged in the middle of a pandemic.”

“To fight for free speech and free expression. To fight for the free press. To fight for our right to express what we want to express. Those rights are being curtailed and we cannot allow that to happen,” Balagtas said.

Those who are interested can follow @projectbusal on Instagram and email for a free mask.



Aie and her sister have so far made 20 masks, but they’re planning to expand by tying up with groups dedicated to upholding human rights.

The recently passed antiterrorism bill is widely criticized for allowing authorities to classify dissent as terrorism.

The legislation currently up for President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature will allow authorities to detain suspects without charge for up to 24 days, carry out warrantless arrests, and detain people for making social media posts critical of the government.

Balagtas is among many who urge the public to speak up and defend free speech, freedom of expression and the free press, especially on the day we celebrate independence. – RC, GMA News