After NTC order to ban alleged ‘Red’ websites, CPP urges public to use VPN, Tor browser
MANILA, Philippines — The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Wednesday urged the public to use Tor Browser and virtual private networks (VPNs) to circumvent what they call a “firewall” erected by the government following the order to block websites allegedly found to be affiliated and supportive of the communist movement.
CPP spokesperson Marco Valbuena made the statement after National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba ordered internet service providers (ISP) in the country to block the party’s and other supposed communist-linked websites upon the request of National Security Council (NSC) advisor Hermogenes Esperon.
“We urge Filipino internet readers to use alternative means of accessing information, including the use of the Tor Browser, proxies, and virtual private network services (VPNs),” Valbuena said in a statement.
Valbuena encouraged the measure as he enjoined “all democratic, progressive and patriotic organizations and individuals, journalists and academics who value press freedom and freedom of expression to resist” the so-called internet firewall.
The NTC ordered ISPs to block access to 26 websites “affiliated to and are supporting” designated terrorists and terrorist groups CPP, its armed wing New People’s Army, and the umbrella organization National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
Valbuena, however, noted that of the websites that the NSC wants to be banned, only seven are actually affiliated with the CPP and NDFP.
“The rest are websites of local cause-oriented groups (6), alternative news websites (3), progressive journalists and academics (3), international organizations (2), international alternative news (2), a news blog, and a blog of Indian activists,” Valbuena pointed out.
“At least six websites in the haphazardly drawn list are inactive with some last updated ten years ago. Surprisingly, the list also includes the Monthly Review and the Counterpunch, both highly regarded US-based organizations that promote progressive views,” he added.
Valbuena also said that they received reports that subscribers of Smart and PLDT could no longer access the Philippine Revolution Web Central.
The CPP and groups and individuals linked to the party have also been the target of a crackdown by social media sites.
Twitter has recently suspended the account of CPP founder Jose Maria Sison, along with other accounts aligned with the communist movement.
Meanwhile, Facebook and Google closed the CPP’s social media and email accounts last April.
In April, Facebook’s parent company Meta also removed accounts linked to the NPA, reportedly for propagating violence, which goes against the social media giant’s community standards.