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Duterte's anti-terror push amid economic woes draws backlash

Bill waiting to be signed calls for warrantless arrests, detentions and wiretaps

Human rights activists fear the Philippines' pending anti-terror law will be used to suppress free speech and harass those who challenge President Rodrigo Duterte.   © Reuters

MANILA -- A proposed law giving President Rodrigo Duterte sweeping powers to go after terrorists has provoked a backlash in the Philippines, with critics saying the move is meant to shut down dissent amid deepening economic woes.

On Thursday, the country's statistics agency reported the jobless rate had surged to a record 17.7% in April, equivalent to 7.3 million people out of work. The upswing was from 5.1% in January as a strict lockdown meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus pounded businesses.

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