The CNT orders the blocking of sites “affiliated with terrorist organizations which support them”


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MANILA, Philippines – The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has ordered internet service providers to block several websites, including those of independent media, “found to be affiliated with and supporting terrorist organizations and terrorists”.

The order, dated June 8, was signed by NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba at the request of National Security Advisor Hermogenes Esperon. A copy of Esperon’s order and request was shared with the media on Wednesday.

“In reference to the letter dated June 6, 2022 from the National Security Council, you are hereby requested to effect the immediate blocking of reported websites affiliated with and supporting terrorists and terrorist organizations,” Cordoba said in the arrangement.

In a letter to Cordoba, dated June 6, Esperon asked the CNT to order the country’s internet service providers to block access to 26 websites “affiliated with and supporting” terrorists and designated terrorist groups Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People’s Army and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Among the websites Esperon is asking to be blocked is the website of NDFP and CPP founder Jose Maria Sison.

The list also includes websites of progressive groups and independent media such as Bulatlat.

“They have established a ubiquitous online presence through their websites which they continually use to post propaganda and disinformation campaigns to slander the Philippine government, recruit new members, and solicit funds from local and international sources. “, Esperon said in his letter to Cordoba.

“In this regard, can we request the NTC to issue legal instruments to order Philippine Internet Service Providers to block access to the following websites affiliated with and supporting these terrorist and terrorist organizations,” he said. added.

‘Affiliates’

The list also includes websites of progressive groups and independent media outlets such as Bulatlat, which said the move “sets a dangerous precedent for independent journalism in the Philippines.”

Regarding the order, Justice Department Undersecretary Adrian Sugay cited Republic Act No. 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 and its rules and regulations.

Sugay cited Rule 6.4 on the effects of designation which relies on the power of the Anti-Money Laundering Council to freeze the assets of individuals, groups of people, organizations or associations designated as terrorists.

When asked if among the effects of the designation is the blocking of websites and if this extends to “affiliates”, Sugay replied: “These questions, in my opinion, should be directed to the National Security Council “.

The request, Sugay said, came from the NTC and not from the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC). The Secretary for Justice is a member of the ATC, which is responsible for designating terrorist individuals, groups of people, organizations and associations.

“Please note that the request in question did not come from the Counter-Terrorism Council, but from the National Security Council,” Sugay said.

Sugay added that if “anyone should feel aggrieved by a perceived improper use or application of any of the provisions of the ATA (Anti-Terrorism Act), including the designation provisions, there are remedies under of the law and legal recourse is always available”.

RELATED STORY:

PH Terror Council Identifies 6 Reds and 5 Others as Terrorists

NDFP listed as a terrorist organization

VDE

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