Joint Statement on NTFELCI attacking ABS-CBN and Maria Ressa

We, media groups, news outfits, journalists and academics condemn the National Task Force to End Local Communist Insurgency 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.

Worse, the Presidential Communications Operations Office aided in the slander by sharing these posts on its own page, although it later took these down, apparently after netizens criticized it on the comments sections.

While Communications Secretary Maartin 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, immediately mount an investigation into who in the NTF-ELCAC were responsible for ordering and creating slanderous posts and who were responsible for ordering and why .

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