Ex-communists: NPA turns to Spotify, other online platforms to recruit after NTC blocks websites

DAVAO CITY (PNA) – Communist rebel recruiters have turned to other online platforms such as the popular digital music and podcast service Spotify after their websites were blocked by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

Joy James Saguino, a former high-ranking leader of the New People’s Army (NPA)-turned-anti-rebel advocate, said the group is being actively assisted by its umbrella organization, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), to explore and use online platforms to “dupe” potential recruits.

“They are exploiting all information platforms to expand their machinery of indoctrination and radicalization, especially that Spotify is widely used by the youth,” Saguino, a former secretary of the NPA Guerrilla Front 20, said in a phone interview Monday, July 18.

Saguino said CPP-NPA-linked organizations are using Spotify to create podcasts to disseminate propaganda and recruit young people into Asia's longest-running insurgency.

The government, she said, must take action “on removing such content on social media platforms. This is plain rebellion taught in online platforms and must be dealt with seriously by the government.”

Saguino’s observations were supported by Arian Jane Ramos, known as “Marikit” when she was still a rebel and a youth recruiter for the NPA.

Ramos said urged the public to “save the next generation from the deception of the CPP-NPA” and the National Democratic Front (NDF), which she described as a coalition of revolutionary social and economic unions and leftist political parties in the Philippines.

Ramos was the former secretary of the NPA Guerrilla Front 55 in Southern Mindanao, and a former chairperson of Gabriela Youth at the University of the Philippines (UP) Mindanao.

She noted that the recent passing of Nikka Ledesma dela Cruz, which she said “serves as a grim reminder of what frequently happens to young people who take up arms and valiantly rebel against the government.”

On July 6, Dela Cruz, a journalism graduate of the University of San Jose Recoletos Cebu who previously worked in local media, was killed in an encounter in Binalbagan, Negros Occidental.

Dela Cruz was allegedly recruited into the NPA by Anakbayan and Kadamay in her college days.

“Another youth we failed to save. Unfortunately, only those high-ranking cadres receive a dignified burial and an expensive memorial service to defend their heinous deeds and elevate their names,” Ramos said.

To avoid recruitment, she urged the youth to participate in a systematic education and thorough awareness of communism and how it can significantly affect national security as well as the future of the children.

“We must expose the truth, if doing it means rescuing the deceived and exploited youth, then we must unquestionably do it, even if others try to silence us for doing so,” she said.

She also urged the youth to “steadfastly uphold the current administration's push for good governance. The real driving force behind achieving social justice is a well-functioning government.”

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

The NDF was formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973.