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The Philippines has detailed counterterrorism provisions in its domestic law. A new law was adopted in 2020. It contains a carve-out for the exercise of certain fundamental rights.

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism in Domestic Law

The 2020 Terrorism Act defines terrorism as follows:

any person who, within or outside the Philippines, regardless of the stage of execution:

(a)    Engages in acts intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to any person, or endangers a person’s life;

(b)    Engages in acts intended to cause extensive damage or destruction to a government or public facility, public place or private property:

(c)    Engages in acts intended to cause extensive interference with, damage or destruction to critical infrastructure;

(d)    Develops, manufactures, possesses, acquires, transports, supplies or uses weapons, explosives or of biological, nuclear, radiological or chemical weapons; and

(e)    Releases dangerous substances, or causes fire, floods or explosions

when the purpose of such act, by its nature and context, is to intimidate the general public or a segment thereof, create an atmosphere or spread a message of fear, to provoke or influence by intimidation the government or any international organization, or seriously destabilize or destroy the fundamental political, economic, or social structures of the country, or create a public emergency or seriously undermine public safety, shall be guilty of committing terrorism.S. 4, 2020 Terrorism Act.

Terrorism "shall not include advocacy, protest, dissent, stoppage of work, industrial or mass action, and other similar exercises of civil and political rights, which are not intended to cause death or serious physical harm to a person, to endanger a person’s life, or to create a serious risk to public safety". 

Adherence to Global and Regional Terrorism Treaties


The Philippines is a State Party to most of the main United Nations treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Global Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1973 Convention on Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons State Party
1979 Hostage-Taking Convention State Party
1997 Terrorist Bombings Convention State Party
1999 Terrorist Financing Convention State Party
2005 Nuclear Terrorism Convention Signatory


The Philippines is also a State Party to the main regional treaty on terrorism concluded within the Association of South-East Asian Nations.


Adherence to Regional Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
ASEAN 2007 Treaty on Counter Terrorism State Party

Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences

The penalty for terrorism is life imprisonment without parole.S. 4, 2020 Terrorism Act.

In 2022, the International Commission of Jurists published a critique of the application of antiterrorism laws in the Philippines. The organization accused the authorities of using terrorism labels to attack human rights defenders in a process termed "red-tagging".

Counterterrorism Capacities and Policies at Domestic Level

The Philippines has counterterrorism capacities in both its army and its police force.


Philippines 2020 Terrorism Act

ICJ Paper on Counterterrorism and Human Rights in the Philippines (2022)