A chilling effect on the right to freedom of expression
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) expresses grave concern over tagging of nine individuals as terrorist recruiters, as their names and photos were publicly published by unknown culprits in Brgy Maa, Davao City. Such irresponsible and illegal act sends a chilling effect on the exercise of freedom of expression and opinion of these progressive individuals and organisations, and threatens their personal security and safety as well.
Now that the Anti-Terror Law is in effect, the CHR reiterates its call to the government to establish protection mechanisms that support and safeguard the rights of citizens, particularly those who are facing high risk of threats, violence, and other forms of harassment, mostly individuals working for mass-oriented causes. We hope that this newly enforced policy to suppress counterinsurgency in the country would not be leveraged by any institution in justifying such indiscriminate labeling as we have previously expressed our reservations on the said law.
The Commission calls on local government authorities to immediately facilitate proper investigation of the case, to hold perpetrators accountable, and to put an end to these series of intimidation against people who have openly expressed grievance against the government. Our regional office will also conduct an independent probe.