President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed a long sought anti-terrorism law Tuesday aimed at battling al-Qaida-linked insurgents, but which civil rights activists regard as a weapon of oppression.
The Human Security Act will add legal muscle to a US-backed counterterrorism campaign in a country seen as a key target and breeding ground of terrorists in Southeast Asia's Muslim heartland.
"It upgrades our pre-emptive capability to check the conspiracies of harm and mass murder, and contain the movement of arms and funds to sow mayhem," Arroyo said.
Law-abiding Filipinos, she said, "have nothing to fear."
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