Marco Valbuena | Chief Information Officer | Communist Party of the Philippines September 26, 2021
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) denounces the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to pressure and compel school officials to remove and ban from their libraries books and other literature authored or published by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and Prof. Jose Ma. Sison.
At least three universities have bowed to the diktat of the AFP and PNP over the past week, namely the Kalinga State University, the Isabela State University and the Aklan State University. In Isabela, the books were “turned over” to the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA). In Aklan, the books were replaced by materials provided by the AFP.
Most of the books banned from these public school libraries pertain to peace negotiations and the views taken by the NDFP and the revolutionary movement on the matter of just and lasting peace and outstanding socioeconomic, political, cultural and military issues in the country.
These military-incited book ban are barefaced acts of censorship and suppression. This outrightly tramples on the right to academic freedom which students and teachers are supposed to enjoy inside their colleges and universities. It is reminiscent of the Nazi book burning of the 1930s when literature deemed subversive and opposed to Nazism were publicly burned, an act often repeated in AFP-organized spectacles across the country.
Acting under the direction of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and using “counterinsurgency” as pretext, the military and police are brazenly stepping beyond their territory and trampling on the freedom of thought and freedom of expression. They make the stupid and condescending claim of “protecting the youth” as if students and their teachers have no critical faculties of thinking.
The NTF-ELCAC is taking advantage of the pandemic when students are not in the campuses. They also first targeted the small isolated universities in the provinces thinking they can get away with these acts of suppression with less public attention. They likely won’t be succeed in this censorship campaign in the big university campuses as this would generate more critical resistance.
Weapons in hand, they are acting like the old Nazi ideological and cultural gods—zealots with one-sided brains. The military and police have totally no business dictating what people should and should not read or study. Their intervention in the academe stifles learning and critical thinking and should be vigorously rejected.
The Filipino people should denounce these acts of censorship by the AFP and PNP in the academe. If unchallenged, this will set a dangerous precedent and bolster the AFP and PNP to step on more educational and cultural territories, possibly including the media, the church and others.
The zealots in the NTF-ELCAC have no sense of history. Censorship and banning of books and reading materials will not stop the people from adhering to the truth that the fascists seek to hide and bury through their tactics of mass mind manipulation. The censorship of Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterisimo failed to stop the people from taking up arms against Spanish colonialism. Marcos controlled all that was taught in schools and broadcasted over radio and television, but failed to stop the growth of the people’s democratic revolution.
Similarly, Duterte’s non-stop bamboozling of the people and military red-tagging and current attempts to ban books critical of the regime in the guise of counterinsurgency will fail. They are succeeding only in sparking the youth’s interest in progressive and revolutionary thought and inciting more and more people to seek the truth and expose its crimes, corruption and national treachery.
We are certain that the banning of books of the revolutionary movement from public school libraries will not stop students and teachers from studying what the CPP, the NDFP and the NPA really stand for, and expose the military’s “terrorist-labeling” as a complete farce. These censorship schemes will not prevent more and more people, including the intellectuals, to join the revolutionary cause that represents the broad democratic ideals of the oppressed and exploited masses.