MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday defended the decision of the National Security Council (NSC) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to restrict the websites of Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) affiliated groups and front organizations.

In a news release, DILG Undersecretary and NTF ELCAC spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said the legal basis for restricting these websites primarily emanates from RA No. 11479 or more popularly known as "The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020" particularly in the first paragraph of Sec. 2, which reads:

Section 2. Declaration of Policy - It is declared a policy of the State to protect life, liberty, and property from terrorism, to condemn terrorism as inimical and dangerous to the national security of the country and to the welfare of the people, and to make terrorism a crime against the Filipino people, against humanity, and against The Law of Nations.

Malaya said it is clear that “terrorism” is declared explicitly as a crime, not only against the Filipino people but also against humanity and the laws of nations. In this connection, the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) has issued three (3) resolutions declaring the CPP-NPA-NDF and their central committee members as terrorists and terrorist organizations pursuant to par. 3 of Sec. 25 of the said law.

“In light of the declaration of policy of RA 11479, the resolution of the ATC, and in order to implement the same, restricting or blocking the websites of the declared terrorist organizations and their members are in accordance with law,” he said.

“It cannot be denied that the propaganda contained in the terrorist websites are being used to advance the illegal cause of the terrorists, in this case the CPP-NPA-NDF, which is to overthrow the government through violent means and destroy our democratic way of life. I wish to emphasize that inciting to commit terrorism is a criminal act in Sec. 9 of RA 11479, which reads: Section 9. Inciting to Commit Terrorism.- Any person who, without taking any direct part in the commission of terrorism, shall include others to the execution of any of the acts specified in Section 4 hereof by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, banners or other representations tending to the same end,” he added.

He said those affected by this sanction may advance the argument that the same is a curtailment of their freedom of speech. However, this should fail because freedom of speech is not absolute as held by the Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Comelec, 137 Phil. 471, 494.

“Some types of speech may be subjected to some regulation by the State under its police power, in order that it may not be injurious to the equal rights of others or those of the community or society,” he said.

Malaya said even the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights recognizes that freedom of speech and expression has limitations, particularly on issues of national security and public order, which is the very purpose why the terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF websites are being blocked. (PR)