Journalist group, former Davao-based editor included in AFP hit list

May. 28, 2009

(Statements from NUJP-Davao Chapter, Carlos Conde, NUJP)

Military hitlist proves fascism of state security forces — NUJP-Davao

We are aghast at the discovery of an Order of Battle (OB) list by the military which includes our organization, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), among others.

If there is one thing that the existence of the said document proves, it is the fact that the state security forces have turned to fascistic ways to an end. The document shows that the military are indeed engaged in eliminating civilians, the unarmed, for reasons that have continued to baffle us to this day.

We could not help but ask what have we done to deserve this?

The NUJP is an organization that believes democracy is impossible to exist if the press is not free to do its job so we endeavour to fight for conditions that may allow journalists in this country to write and tell stories the way they should be doing it, in the service of democracy.

If this is why the 10th ID has put us in the list for, then it becomes right to say that the 10th ID has effectively become the enemies of press freedom, the enemies of democracy.

We note, sadly, that we have come to a point where the price of defending truth, freedom and democracy in the country has become too costly. We are being made to pay for it with our dear lives.

More than sixty journalists have already been killed in this country since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to power and by far, her administration has yet to prove that it is doing something to help the situation.

As though this current climate of impunity that journalists face is not enough, journalists have to put up with yet another condition that puts our very lives in grave danger.

We warn the 10th ID of the Philippine Army, that we shall hold no one else accountable but their elements for whatever harm that will fall upon these organizations and members in the list. We say that what you did as shown in this piece of evidence is wrong as it is condemnable. You must answer for this grave misdeed.

The NUJP believes that we are called not just to defend ourselves this time but to fight fascism which is now rearing its ugly head in our midst.

NUJP Davao Chapter

Former Davao Today editor reacts to inclusion in military OB list

I am Carlos H. Conde, a journalist based in Manila.

I recently found out that my name is included in the Armed Forces of the Philippines’s “order of battle,” specifically in a document titled “JCICC `Agila’ 3rd Qtr 2007 OB validation result” purportedly prepared by the intelligence staff of the armed forces’ 10th Infantry Division (ID) in Southern Mindanao.

In this “order of battle,” more than a hundred individuals – mostly leaders and members of progressive and leftist groups like Bayan, Bayan Muna, among others – are listed and classified as “organized,” “dominated,” or “targeted.” As far as I can tell, I am the only journalist on the list, which classifies me as “targeted,” whatever that means.

It would seem that the army considers me an enemy of the state, as the document, which shows the alleged links of these individuals with the communist movement, seems to be implying.

Needless to say, this “order of battle” has caused anxiety and fear in my family because, as we all know, an “order of battle” in the Philippines is a veritable hit list. Indeed, at least one of the individuals in the document – Celso Pojas, a peasant leader in Davao City — has been assassinated and several others have either been attacked or subjected to harassment and intimidation by agents of the armed forces.

Just to be clear, I am a journalist and has been so in the past 15 years. Presently, I work as a freelance correspondent for US-based publications, namely The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune and I also contribute stories and reports every now and then to other foreign and local publications.

I used to be the coordinator of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines in Davao City and Southern Mindanao, where I resided until three years ago. I was the NUJP’s secretary-general from 2004 to 2006. Part of my job at the time was to lead the campaign in the Philippines to stop the killings of journalists. The Philippines, as we all know, is notorious for being the world’s most murderous place for journalists.

Why my name is included in the “order of battle” is a mystery. Unless, that is, the armed forces considers my and NUJP’s advocacy for press freedom, as well as pressuring the government to end the killings, as the work of enemies of the state. Unless the armed forces views my job and my writing as threats to this nation.

Carlos H. Conde

Manila, Philippines

Tel.: (+63) 9189425492


Stupid intelligence endangers lives

Again, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has proven that military intelligence is an oxymoron.

The sad thing is it is no laughing matter because the irresponsibility and stupidity of military intelligence, specifically of the army’s 10th Infantry Division (ID), places lives in danger, if it has not already

cost some people their lives.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has come into possession of a PowerPoint presentation entitled JCICC Agila, 3trd Qtr 2007 OB Validation Report, which is marked Secret and was apparently prepared by the 10th ID based in Southern Mindanao.

An OB is an order of battle, a list of what the military considers to be enemy targets, often members of the communist rebel movement. It is no secret that, very often, landing in the OB is a veritable death

sentence, as shown by the close to a thousand extrajudicial killings that have raked the ranks of progressive legal organizations that the government and military openly label legal fronts of the communist rebel movement.

The 10th ID OB lists down more than a hundred individuals, mostly leaders and members of progressive and leftist organizations – Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Bayan Muna, Gabriela – church organizations, based in Davao City, all of whom are classified as organized, dominated and targeted.

It also includes one media organization, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, under which is listed Carlos Conde. He is among those categorized as targeted.

Mr. Conde is the Philippine correspondent for the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune and, a contributor to other foreign and Philippine publications, and is a member and former secretary general of the NUJP. Mr. Conde, who lived in Davao for 10 years, also used to be NUJP’s coordinator for Davao and Southern Mindanao.

To our knowledge, at least one person in the 10th ID OB has been murdered – Davao peasant leader Celso Pojas. Others have been threatened and harassed.

Thus, aside from our concern over the continued extra-judicial killings of persons the state and its security forces choose to consider enemies, we are particularly worried over the inclusion of Mr. Conde

and the NUJP in the 10th ID OB, which contains, in this case, not only dated and erroneous information, but is also based on a false premise.

The NUJP was once included in an earlier PowerPoint presentation produced by the Intelligence Services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which was being shown in schools, called Knowing The Enemy, that listed down so-called communist legal fronts tagged enemies of the state.

The clamor over that fiasco led a red-faced military to admit its mistake and promise to pull out the presentation.

Apparently, at least one unit of the AFP – the 10th ID – does not think the NUJP’s inclusion among the state’s considered enemies was a mistake and, has in fact, even singled out one of our more senior and more respected members for targeting.

The existence of such an abomination as this OB only bolsters the thesis of United Nations special rapporteur Philip Alston that the plague of extrajudicial killings that has cost the lives of close to a

thousand activists and dissenters since 2001, when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to power, can be blamed on a government counterinsurgency strategy that targets personalities from legal

leftist organizations openly tagged rebel legal fronts.

While the NUJP reiterates that we have, so far, seen no indication that the murder of journalists in this country is part of official policy, the discovery that our organization and a former officer are considered enemies of the state, has made us think that we may have to reconsider our position.

Especially since, not only have the most number of journalists – 64 of the 100 slain since 1986 – lost their lives under this administration, it is also this administration alone, after the 14-year Marcos

dictatorship, that has attempted a wholesale muzzling of the Philippine media.

The 10th ID OB also belies all claims by defense officials and the military top brass about reforms within the AFP and how state security forces have been reoriented to respect human rights.

The only way the AFP and the Department of Defense, specifically Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., can rectify this mistake is to sack everyone involved in producing this abominable and stupid PowerPoint

presentation, including the commander of the 10th ID, who cannot evade liability under the principle of command responsibility, and to issue a public apology to Mr. Conde, the NUJP and to all the other

individuals it may have wronged and placed in danger because of their inclusion in the OB.

Not to do so can only lead us to conclude that the OB has the blessings of the defense and military leadership, and, as a consequence, the government itself.

For reference:

Nonoy Espina
Vice Chairman

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