ZAMBOANGA CITY (Zamboanga Journal / 31 Jul) The website of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA) have disappeared, but the rebel groups continue its propaganda war despite losing one of the most visited site from the Internet.
The website philippinerevolution.org, which previously posted news and photographs of war victories against the military and police and anti-government propaganda is now home to travel and tourism portals. Gone was the red hammer and sickle flag; it was replaced by an image of a clear blue sky -- Welcome to the Philippinerevolution.Org, it now said.
The new site is a far cry from stories of ambuscades of soldiers; of photographs of young warriors fighting for freedom and oppression and the right of the peasants.
It was unknown if the CPP-NPA website was defaced or hacked, as it was in the past, but losing the site did not prevent the rebels and their political wing, the National Democratic Front, in providing the media with latest news in the battle front. With more than 450 members -- from individuals to news media in the Philippines and abroad -- the CPP's e-group and the NPA's war bulletin continue to provide breaking stories and insight into the war that had already killed tens of thousands the past three decades.
The rebels last week released 15 news stories from daring attacks on soldiers and policemen in the southern Philippines to successful raids in the northern part of the country.
They continue to boast of victories against the government and their latest news release warns of bigger attacks.
"Through relentless mass work and warfare, the people's democratic government, the local Party branches, the mass organizations and the New People's Army, together with the people's militia and self-defense units in the guerrilla fronts, have been able to preserve their strength and grow on a nationwide scale."
"The hundreds of NPA platoon now available for tactical offensives on a nationwide scale can bleed the enemy profusely. They can easily hit and run and avoid decisive engagements with any superior enemy force. At the moment, the NPA under the leadership of the CPP is determined to multiply the platoons as the attack units of the commands at the guerrilla front, provincial and regional units. These platoons can easily combine to launch bigger offensives or they can also combine with local guerrilla squads and the militia units for the purpose," said the rebels in their latest statement.
With media as battlefront, the rebels in the southern Philippines may be winning the propaganda war and the military is steadily losing the battle on information.
The Zamboanga City-based Southern Command, the biggest military installation outside Manila, remains silent of many issues involving the communist and Muslim rebels. And the same is true with the Army's 1st Infantry Division in Zamboanga del Sur province and the Philippine Marines and the Navy headquarters in the restive region.
Many security officials were either hiding from the media, prevented from talking by their superiors or afraid to give information, saying only generals or their designated spokesmen are authorized to talk. But they often blame journalists for stories critical of the military or the government.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front also maintains its own website called luwaran.com that carries daily news and photographs about the rebel group. Eid Kabalu, the MILF spokesman, is always available for media interviews, unlike military generals and their public affairs spokesmen. And this is also the same with Gregorio Rosal, the CPP spokesman, and other rebel leaders in Mindanao are as active as Kabalu. They regularly speak on radio programs and occasionally grant clandestine interviews in their hideouts for selected journalists.
The Internet has become the new venue for rebels to wage propaganda war and with no military websites to talk about in Mindanao; soldiers are losing in this battle for publicity.