Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Wednesday social media shoud not be restricted using the Anti-Terrorism Law because this would violate freedom of speech. The new military chief said the day before that the new legislation should have "specific provisions" on the said platforms.
Human rights activists have raised fears that the Anti-Terrorism Law could be used to crack down on dissent. The government denied this. It took effect without implementing rules last July.
"No, the ATL (Anti-Terrorism Law) should not regulate social media. It is not part of its mandate and it would violate freedom of speech and discourse," Lorenzana told reporters.
Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, the new Armed Forces Chief of Staff, said this week as he assumed his post that terrorists were using social media to inspire radical ideologies.
The AFP spokesman, Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, said of Gapay's statement: "This seeks to prevent and avoid a repetition of the tragic experiences our people have suffered in the past from the hands of terrorists which have resulted to countless and senseless deaths of innocent citizens or their serious physical injuries, the deliberate massive destruction of vital government infrastructures and public properties which translated to billions of pesos of worth of losses of taxpayers' money."