Philippines: Fight the Marcos Firewall!
Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) denounces the National Security Council and various agencies of the reactionary government for the push to erect a Marcos Anti-Democracy (MAD) Internet Firewall in a desperate bid to censor online criticism and dissent against the incoming illegitimate Marcos II regime, as well as suppress progressive, patriotic and revolutionary journalism and literature that exposes the ills of the ruling system.
In a June 6 letter, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, NSC director general and officer of the National Task Force (NTF)-Elcac, told the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to order internet service providers to block access of Filipino subscribers to 25 websites including those of the Communist Party of the Philippines (PRWC or Philippine Revolution Web Central), the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and several of its allied organizations. In a June 8 memorandum to all internet service providers with the subject “For Blocking Illegal Online Cockfighting Websites,” the NTC ordered “the immediate blocking of the reported websites found to be affiliated to and are supporting terrorists and terrorist organizations.” We have received recent reports that subscribers of Smart and PLDT could no longer access the PRWC (https://cpp.ph).
Of the list of websites which the NSC wants banned, only seven are actually affiliated with the CPP and NDFP. The rest are websites of local cause oriented groups (6), alternative news websites (3), progressive journalists and academics (3), international organizations (2), international alternative news (2), a news blog and a blog of Indian activists. At least six websites in the haphazardly drawn list are inactive with some last updated ten years ago. Surprisingly, the list also includes the Monthly Review and the Counterpunch, both highly regarded US-based organizations that promote progressive views.
The MAD Firewall is an authoritarian measure meant to suppress the people’s freedom to express criticism or grievance against the ruling government and ruling system and promote progressive, patriotic, anti-imperialist and revolutionary ideas. This is the latest measure promoted by the militarists in the NSC and NTF-Elcac after the push to purge public libraries of books and literature related to peace talks and the NDFP, the funding of incessant distributed denial-of-service attacks against the PRWC and several other websites, the terrorist-tagging against patriotic and progressive bookstores, and the repeal of the UP-DND accord banning military personnel in UP campuses.
We believe that the MAD Firewall is just the opening scene for a general crackdown against Philippine media under the incoming Marcos II regime. On the pretext of “anti-terrorism,” Filipino reporters and journalists will soon be under intense pressure to suppress information, news reports and views expressed by the CPP, as well as progressive and patriotic, and eventually of any views and reports that are critical of the incoming Marcos regime on the likely rationale that such news writing “destabilizes government” and “undermines unity.”
The NSC/NTF-Elcac’s internet ban exposes the intolerance of militarist zealots in power and how they use “national security” and “anti-terrorism” as pretext to clamp down on basic people’s freedoms. The push for the MAD Firewall is a direct outcome of the so-called Anti-Terrorism Law and exposes its real authoritarian and draconian intent. In fact, the MAD Firewall has nothing to do with “anti-terrorism” as it is nothing but barefaced censorship. It shows how “anti-terrorism” is being used as an arbitrary category to suppress all forms of opposition and people’s resistance.
On behalf of all the oppressed and exploited classes and sectors, the CPP asserts the intrinsic right of people of whatever affiliation–social, political, ideological, national, cultural or gender-based–to express their ideas and views, and promote patriotic, progressive, anti-imperialist and revolutionary programs as alternative to the ruling pro-imperialist, reactionary, fascist and militarist agenda of the ruling system.
We urge all democratic, progressive and patriotic organizations and individuals, journalists and academics who value press freedom and freedom of expression to resist the MAD Internet Firewall. Fight authoritarian censorship against the promotion of progressive, anti-imperialist and revolutionary ideas!
We urge Filipino internet readers to use alternative means of accessing information, including the use of the Tor Browser, proxies and virtual private network services (VPNs) in order to circumvent the Marcos Firewall.
More importantly, we call on the broad masses of the people to take action, organize against online censorship and protest and manifest their indignation against the burgeoning authoritarian regime.