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Philippines House adopts anti-terrorism bill

[JURIST] The Philippines House of Representatives [official website] adopted a new anti-terrorism law [press release] on Monday allowing authorities to detain suspected terrorists for up to three days without filing charges. The legislation, known as the Human Security Act of 2007, includes a provision that grants wrongfully detained persons a right to compensation of up to P500,000, equivalent to roughly 10,000 US dollars. The bill also permits electronic surveillance of suspects and sentences of up to 40 years' imprisonment. Commenting on the passage of the bill, Speaker of the House Jose de Venecia [official profile] said it "shall not prejudice respect for human rights which shall be absolute and protected at all times." President Gloria Arroyo [official website; BBC profile] must still sign the bill before it becomes law.

Earlier this month, the Philippine Senate [official website] adopted its version of the bill [JURIST report; press release]. The legislation comes in response to the Philippine government's ongoing struggle with Islamist separatists and communist rebels, both of whom have used terror tactics [CFR Q/A]; in 2004, the Abu Sayyaf Group [BBC backgrounder] bombed a ferry in Manila Bay, killing some 130 passengers. Reuters has more.

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