A group of Winnipeggers protests against Philippines’ anti-terrorism law

A group of Winnipeggers protests against Philippines’ anti-terrorism law

Diaspora Against Dictatorship held a rally on July 7, 2020 in front of the Legislative Building to protest against Philippines’ anti-terrorism bill that was signed as law by President Rodrigo Duterte last July 3rd.

“We believe that this law, the way that it is written right now encroaches upon human rights,” said Ally Gonzalo, spokesperson of Diaspora Against Dictatorship.

“Its definition of what terrorism is, its law of allowing people or wire-tapping people for 60-90 days and detaining them and labeling their relatives as accomplices or suspects as well to terrorism, when in truth, they are just speaking up for what they think is wrong,” added Gonzalo, as just some of the vague parts of the law.

Diaspora Against Dictatorship is a not-for-profit group that is comprised of people who had to immigrate because their home cannot sustain them anymore.

Gonzalo himself is an immigrant from the Philippines. He recognizes that being away from his motherland, he is safer (to demonstrate) and because he is safer, he feels that he should do something about the law.

“We recognize that as immigrants in Canada, we have, honestly, more power and platform and privilege over those who live back home because right now, yung batas ngayon (with the law now),everything they do will subject them to potentially being labelled as terrorists.”

Aside from protesting against the anti-terrorism law and raising awareness, the group is also making a call on the Prime Minister.

“We are calling on Justin Trudeau to condemn this (law) because it is a human rights violation. We do not need to explain ourselves why we need human rights. No one should explain themselves why they should stay alive or they should defend the rights of their fellow Filipino people.”

And while the group will be paying attention to the anti -terrorism law, Gonzalo has a message to fellow Filipinos in Winnipeg.

“We should study our history because learning from your past helps you create a better future not only for yourself but for the rest of your people. Love your motherland but not like the person taking care of it. Nationalism should not be aligned with who the leader is but rather aligned with where you come from- culture, shared experiences of being a Filipino.”