Filipino K-pop fans are foiling attempts by pro-government groups to drum up support for a controversial bill in the Philippines.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte recently proposed a tougher law against terrorism which many critics feared would be used to restrict Filipinos’ basic freedoms, according to Rappler.
House Bill (HB) No. 6875, known as the Anti-Terror bill, would repeal the Human Security Act of 2007 and replace it with a harsher law.
“The bill introduces provisions imposing life imprisonment without parole on those who will participate in the planning, training, preparation, and facilitation of a terrorist act; possess objects connected with the preparation for the commission of terrorism; or collect or make documents connected with the preparation of terrorism,”
according to the state-run Philippine News Agency (PNA)
After adopting the Senate version, the House of Representatives approved the bill on Wednesday. It is only a matter of time until the bill is signed into law.
Advocates of the proposed law claim amending the bill will help in the country’s fight against terrorism. Critics, opposition leaders, human rights lawyers and advocates have warned, however, that several of its provisions could be used to “curtail dissent.” The timing of the passage of the bill has also been criticized as the government continues to struggle in curbing the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
In the past few days, social media platforms have been flooded with posts of dissent, with the hashtags #JunkAntiTerrorBill, #ActivismIsNotTerrorism and #JunkTerrorBilllNow trending on local Twitter.
On Thursday, the hashtag #SupportAntiTerrorBill emerged in an apparent bid to gain support for the bill, but it soon backfired after K-pop stan (fan) accounts took over the hashtag to tweet messages of resistance.
Thousands of tweets that included videos of the fans’ K-pop idols drowned out those promoting the Anti-Terror bill.
K-pop stans have been known to utilize social media platforms to express their support not just for their idols but also causes they believe in.
Just recently, K-pop fans in the U.S. used the hashtag #WhiteLivesMatter to cover racist tweets, and flooded a Dallas police app to protect protestors in reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Among the many voices who expressed opposition to the bill, are two Filipina former Miss Universe titleholders, Catriona Gray and Pia Wurtzbach.
Local celebrities such as Kathryn Bernardo, Nadine Lustre, and Liza Soberano, have also used their platforms to amplify voices who are against the bill.
Feature Image via Getty