This is the reaction of incoming Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III to an order of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to internet services providers to block websites affiliated with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People’s Army (NPA), and the National Democratic Front (NDF), as well as sites by progressive groups and news organizations.
‘’That might be too broad and we may be keeping our people especially our younger generation ignorant of other perspectives, other ways of looking at things, other ways of solving our problems,’’ Pimentel said.
‘’Allowing access to other thoughts (which are not in agreement with our own thoughts) is one necessary step in the development of critical and independent thinking. And of course we want the Filipino People to have the capability to be critical thinkers,’’ he told Senate reporters.
The NTC order was triggered by a request of National Security Adviser (NSA) Hermogenes Esperon, according to a media report.
Esperon’s request, dated June 6 and publicized on Wednesday, sought to prohibit access to websites that are directly linked to the CPP-NPA-NDF. These are the National Democratic Front of the Philippines site, the official publication of NDF; and the website of CPP founder Jose Maria Sison, who is a designated terrorist under Anti-Terrorism Council Resolution No. 17 issued in 2021.
The report also stated that Esperon also lobbied to block online access to several independent media websites such as Bulatlat and progressive groups like Save our Schools Network, UMA Pilipinas, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, and Pamalakaya Pilipinas
Esperon deemed these media organizations and groups to be “affiliated to and are supporting these terrorists and terrorist organizations.” He, however, showed no proof to support his claims.
”They have established pervasive online presence through their website that they continually use to publish propaganda and misinformation campaigns in order to malign the Philippine government, recruit new members, and solicit funds from local and international sources,” the NSA wrote to NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba.
The full list that Esperon wants blocked are as follows: NDFP, NDF, Jose Maria Sison, Philippine Revolution Web Central, Bulatlat, Hiyaw, PRWC Newsroom, Revolutionary Council of Trade Unions, Compatriots – Revolutionary Organization of Overseas Filipino and their Families, Save our Schools Network, UMA Pilipinas, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, Pamalakaya Pilipinas, AMIHAN National Federation of Peasant Women, BAYAN, Arkibong Bayan, International League of People Struggle, Pinoy Weekly, Counter Punch, International Action Center, Monthly Review, People’s March, Taga-Ilog News, Partisa-News, and People Resist News.