Philippine communist party alleges Google ‘purged’ email accounts

Camille Elemia
Philippine communist party alleges Google ‘purged’ email accounts Masked protesters march during a rally to commemorate the 49th anniversary of the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, near the Malacañang presidential palace in Manila, March 21, 2018.

Communist insurgents in the Philippines alleged Wednesday that search engine firm Google had wiped out their email accounts at Washington’s behest as part of the U.S. government’s efforts to “deny space” for insurgent groups.

This came on the same day Manila admitted that it might fail to meet a self-imposed deadline to end the communist rebellion before President Rodrigo Duterte’s one and only term ends in June.

“Google has purged all our email accounts from its servers in line with the U.S. government’s drive to deny space for anti-imperialist dissent on the internet,” said Marco Valbuena, chief spokesman for the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), in a Twitter post. 

Spokespeople for Google Philippines and the U.S. embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to BenarNews requests for comment.

The Philippine government has intensified its crackdown on the communist party, its military wing, and left-leaning groups of late. 

On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the military and defense establishments could miss a self-imposed deadline.

Speaking at the Army’s 125th founding anniversary, Lorenzana said Duterte had promised to crush the insurgents before leaving office after the May 9 general election. 

“So we worked hard, crafted the EO [Executive Order 70] that gave birth to the NTF-ELCAC [National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict], which is actually the best campaign plan or method that we have devised for a long time,” Lorenzana said.

Because of the anti-communist task force, Lorenzana said “we are closer” to ending the New People’s Army (NPA), the military wing of the CPP. The task force headed by Duterte includes members of the defense establishment and leaders of government agencies and was supposed to deal with the insurgency by addressing poverty, a factor fueling the rebellion. 

“Up until three months ago, at the start of this year, we were hoping that we could finish the job. It’s a tall order because the enemy is deeply embedded in all sectors of society,” Lorenzana said. 

“And it takes a little more, more time to neutralize them,” Lorenzana said. 

The New People’s Army has been waging one of Asia’s longest-running insurgencies that dates back to 1969. The NPA’s strength is estimated at about 5,000 fighters nationwide, down from at least 20,000 at its peak in the 1980s. 

Manila has also labeled exiled CPP founder Jose Maria Sison, a former university professor of Duterte, as a “designated terrorist.” 

In January, the government branded 16 left-leaning groups as “terrorist” organizations, claiming they funnel money to communist insurgents. These groups were alleged allies of the National Democratic Front, the CPP’s political wing. 

Duterte, a self-proclaimed leftist who once called these groups his allies, tried to engage the insurgents in talks after winning the presidency in 2016. Those negotiations fell through with both sides accusing each other of continuing attacks despite talks. 

During a command conference in January 2021, then-military chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay directed military commanders to dismantle all 54 NPA guerilla fronts by the end of 2021. 

Now, the military said the NPA has about 41 guerilla fronts throughout the country with 2,500 fighters. The NPA, meanwhile, claims to have doubled that number of armed fighters and many others helping its cause. 

From Jan. 1 to March 17, the military has either killed or captured 61 rebels while 1,417 rebels and supporters have surrendered, Col. Jorry Baclor, the military’s chief spokesman told reporters on Wednesday. He said 365 firearms were seized or surrendered during the same period. 

“Sustain your fervor in serving the Filipino people with passion and dedication. Your commitment will be critical in the next few months as the term of the president, President Duterte, is coming to an end. That is June 30 of this year,” Lorenzana told the troops. 

Froilan Gallardo and Richel V. Umel in Cotabato, Philippines, contributed to this report.


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