STATEMENT condemning NTF-ELCAC’S black propaganda against ABS-CBN and Maria Ressa

10 May 2020

We, media groups, news outfits, journalists, and academics, condemn the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) for a black propaganda offensive on social media against ABS-CBN and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa.

These Facebook posts, while they have been taken down, are a brazenly criminal abuse of authority on the part of the NTF-ELCAC, replete with half-truths and outright lies that willfully endanger Maria and the management and personnel of the network that government shut down.

The only reason we can think of why a government entity tasked to combat the communist insurgency would wage a propaganda offensive against media persons and outfits is if government now considers us the enemy.

In fact, General Antonio Parlade, NTF-ELCAC spokesman, indicated as much. In a May 8 Philippine News Agency report, while insisting that press freedom was alive in this country, also warned critics of the ABS-CBN shutdown: “Yes to law and order! Otherwise you might just get the martial law that you deserve.”

Worse, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) aided in the slander by sharing these posts on its own page, although it later took these down, apparently after generating backlash from netizens.

While Communications Secretary Martin Andanar issued a statement saying the NTF-ELCAC posts were shared “without the usual vetting process of our office” and were “not in any way an official statement or an opinion of the PCOO,” neither did he apologize for his agency’s involvement nor even promise an investigation to identify those responsible for this reprehensibly irresponsible action.

We demand that government, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), immediately mount an investigation into who in the NTF-ELCAC were responsible for ordering and creating the slanderous posts and why.

At a time when our people are battling a deadly pandemic, it is extremely unacceptable that there are those in government who are making media repression, not saving lives, as the priority.

INDIVIDUALS:

1. Manny Mogato

2. Inday Espina-Varona

3. Marites Vitug

4. Etta Rosales

5. Antonio J. Montalvan II

6. Eunice Barbara C. Novio

7. Tony La Viña

8. John Nery

9. Noemi L. Dado

10. Leslie Manalo

11. Lisa Garcia

12. Bart Guingona

13. Al Alegre

14. Marian Pastor Roces

15. Gang Badoy

16. Ramon Tuazon

17. Tess Bacalla

18. Joel Pablo Salud, editor and author

19. Ellen Tordesillas

20. Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

21. Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News

22. Sheilla Diamse, ABS-CBN News

23. Melanie S. Masecampo, ABS-CBN News

24. Brian Vallesteros, ABS-CBN News

25. Sarah Herrera, ABS-CBN News

26. Gigi Gervasio, ABS-CBN News

27. Reyjohn Mark Sangcap, ABS-CBN News

28. Descirey Villanueva, ABS-CBN News

29. Engelbert Apostol, ABS-CBN News

30. Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

31. Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

32. Isay Reyes, ABS-CBN News

33. Bea Cupin, Rappler

34. Pia Ranada, Rappler

35. Jodesz Gavilan, Rappler

36. Matthew Reysio-Cruz, Philippine Daily Inquirer

37. Herbie Gomez, Mindanao Gold Star Daily

38. Cong Corrales, Mindanao Gold Star Daily

39. Antonio J. Montalvan II

40. Lucia Tangi, UP Department of Journalism

41. Ivy Lisa Mendoza, UP Department of Journalism

42. Janvic Mate, UP Department of Journalism

43. Felipe F. Salvosa II, UST Journalism faculty

44. Christian V. Esguerra, UST Journalism faculty

45. Anna Cielo T. Perez, UST Journalism faculty

46. J Alwyn T. Alburo, UST Journalism faculty

47. Ferdinand J. Maglalang, UST Journalism faculty

48. Leo O. Laparan II, UST Journalism faculty

49. Danilo Arao, associate editor, Bulatlat

50. Beatrice Puente, editor-in-chief, Philippine Collegian

51. Rommel Rutor, president, Samar Island Press Club

52. Mate Espina

53. Jes Aznar

54. Jairo Bolledo, PUP Department of Journalism

55. Pat S. Roque

56. Julie Alipala

57. Raffy Cabristante

58. Jojo Riñoza

59. JB R Deveza

60. Tyrone Velez, SunStar Davao

61. Frank Cimatu, Cordillera News Agency/Baguio Writers Group

62. Ed Lingao

63. Barnaby Lo

64. Stanley Buenafe Gajete

ORGANIZATIONS:

1. Rappler

2. Philippine Press Institute

3. Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility

4. Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

5. Mindanews

6. National Union of Journalists of the Philippines

7. NUJP-Eruope

8. NUJP-Albay

9. NUJP-Baguio Benguet

10. NUJP-Europe

11. NUJP-NCR

12. NUJP-Samar

13. Consortium on Democracy and Disinformation

14. VERA Files

15. Photojournalists Center of the Philippines

16. Kodao Productions

17. Bulatlat

18. Panay Today

19. Dampig Katarungan

20. Panaysayon

21. Altermidya Network

22. Northern Dispatch

23. Davao Today

24. College Editors Guild of the Philippines

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