Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a contentious anti-terrorism measure despite mounting opposition and fears that it targets critics of the government.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte and his legal team had weighed up the concerns from different groups before the bill was signed.
The law takes effect 15 days after publication.
The Philippine Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which amends the 2007 Human Security Act, expands the definition of terrorism, which human rights advocates say could lead to abuses and stifle free speech.
It also permits the surveillance, warrantless arrest and detention of suspects for up to 24 days, according to the draft law.
Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said Duterte’s move has “pushed Philippine democracy into an abyss.”