Bulatlat to NSC: 'Rescind' Esperon's letter to block website

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 12 2022 12:29 PM

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MANILA — Journalism professor and Bulatlat editor Danilo Arao on Friday called on the officials of the National Security Council to "rescind" former NSA Hermogenes Esperon's letter to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) blocking their website and many others.

In a letter in June, Esperon asked the NTC to block access to websites linked to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF). 

The request included websites of progressive groups and independent media like Bulatlat and Pinoy Weekly.

"Sinabi nila publicly nina [National Security Adviser Clarita] Carlos at [Deputy National Security Adviser-designate Rommel] Banlaoi na hindi nila ito-tolerate 'yung red-tagging," Arao told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo. 

"Sana i-rescind nila basically 'yung letter na calling on red-tagging." 

(Carlos and Banlaoi said publicly that they will not tolerate red-tagging. I hope they will rescind basically the letter calling on red-tagging.)

He made the call as a Quezon City court granted Bulatlat's plea for a writ of preliminary injunction to stop the NTC from enforcing its order blocking its website. 

"Evidently there is violation or curtailment of plaintiff’s right to free speech and of the press when its publisher's and reader's access to its website was limited," the court said.

But the issuance of writ of preliminary injunction in favor of Bulatlat is conditioned on posting of a P100,000 bond to answer for damages defendants might suffer because of the injunction. 

Arao said they're conducting a fund-raising project to complete the amount.

The win is just a "preliminary victory," Arao said, as their ultimate goal "is the nullification of the memorandum in its entirety" to lift the blocking order.

When Carlos was appointed as National Security Adviser by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, she ordered to stop red-tagging individuals.

"Why are you ID-ing [identifying] people as if you are concluding already? Stop this red-tagging," she said. 

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