7:22 AM. June 22, 2022. Philippines.
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon asked the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to block access to “Communist Terrorist Groups,” this included progressive, alternative, and independent media not affiliated to such CTGs, and what’s worse is that most of the affected sites situate in the WordPress system which shares an IP address of 220.127.116.11/13.
For context, the Philippines has been battling an ongoing 53-year rebellion between the Marxist-Leninnist-Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP); the political coalition of revolutionary organizations involving the CPP, National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP); and the armed struggle component of the CPP, New People’s Army (NPA). In the first years of the Rodrigo Duterte administration, he declared unilateral ceasefire, and facilitated peace talks between the NDFP and the Government of the Philippines in Oslo. This was short-lived, and unsucessful as Duterte did not comply with a promise in releasing 392 political prisoners. The administration tried to revive talks in July 2017, however in December of that year, Duterte labelled the CPP and NPA as “terrorists”, excluding the NDFP though.
In 2018, President Duterte signed Administrative Order No. 10 on April 3, 2018 to centralize the reintegration of communist rebels. That same year, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order 70, which institutionalized a “whole-of-nation approach” to achieve “inclusive and lasting peace” to help end the communist insurgency, forming the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) tasked with ensuring the effective and efficient implementation of the approach to close. The NTF-ELCAC is notorious for red-tagging individuals with “links” to CTGs, they have often tagged news outlets Rappler, progressive organizations like IBON Foundation, and the National Democratic MAKABAYAN bloc. Recently, the spokesperson of the NTF-ELCAC accused Leni Robredo of “making a pact” with the CPP-NPA-NDF. All of these accusations, and redtagging have been conclusively proven false.
The latest move to trample alternative progressive media, and unwittingly obfuscate them with CTGs, endangers the existence of this site in my country, my freedom to write music reviews, and my freedom to view WordPress at all. This is a result of the newly passed Anti-Terror Law which builds an Anti-Terrorism Council which will identify “terrorist groups.” The reasons of inclusion of progressives and independent media are stated by journalist, Mike Navallo.
Also may I ask the government how does Bulatlat, Monthly Review, and “terrorists” relate to cock-fighting? Are the broadcasting e-cockfighting now? (Context: e-cockfighting has become a major vice, and issue in the Philippines because of the COVID pandemic barring cockfighters to enter fighting pits and stage in-person events, and of the abductions related to it).
This events have been truly devastating to hear. First of all, I urge you all reading to spread awareness in the recent freedom of speech censorship that has been happening in my country, your solidarity helps us. I am also pleading to use democratic, plural, and the power of social media to rally against the fascistic actions of the state. The use of armed struggle to advance class warfare and proletarian revolution of the CPP-NPA is, in my political thought, not the most efficient way, and is unhumanitarian to bring about socialism in the country. I advocate to use a democratic socialist perspective. I condemn the CPP’s protracted war for inducing inadvertent killings as well as targeted killings by labelling “counter-revolutionaries”, as well as the fascist government’s extrajudicial killings and the list of humanitarian crises it has purposefully caused.
I was always active in realizing the progressive future, for my country and for changing society. It is now that I am fully affected by the mechanisms of the state that I truly understand the importance of this free speech I have been given the right to. We must protect speech, against those who restrict it onto others, and against those who want it gone. deforestedmusic is endangered and countless other Filipino writers, bloggers, thinkers, theorists, and hobbyists. We must stand up now, or stand no more.