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Claim that IBON think tank is CPP ‘propaganda mill’ unsupported

Jeffrey “Ka Eric” Celiz, who claims to be a former communist cadre, has repeated a baseless claim that the think tank IBON Foundation distributes propaganda for the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).

Celiz, during a broadcast of Sonshine Media Network Inc.’s (SMNI) “Laban Kasama ang Bayan program” on Nov. 14, said at the 14:58 mark:

Ang IBON is not an independent think tank. It’s not even a think tank, it is a propaganda mill. Ito ay isang factory ng mga propaganda ng CPP-NPA-NDF na hindi nila inaamin (It is a factory for propaganda of the CPP-NPA-NDF [National Democratic Front] which they don’t admit.

He also said:

Ang IBON Foundation, IBON Philippines, ay isang creation ng Communist Party of the Philippines. Purposely, parang it’s an NGO pero ito ay pinapatakbo, pinamumunuan at pinopondohan ng Communist Party of the Philippines (IBON Foundation, IBON Philippines, is a creation of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Purposely, it’s like an NGO, but it is being run, administered and funded by the Communist Party of the Philippines).

IBON is a nonstock, nonprofit organization that specializes in economic research. Celiz did not provide proof that it is being controlled and funded by the CPP-NPA.

IBON executive director Jose Enrique “Sonny” Africa has addressed similar allegations. In a statement he posted on Facebook in November 2019, he said:

IBON categorically denies allegations that it is a supporter of terrorism, publishes materials to recruit rebel children, and other absurd accusations. The Duterte administration is attacking IBON because our research, education and advocacy work exposes Philippine economic realities that the government wants to conceal.

IBON, along with other progressive organizations, has been the target of baseless red-tagging under then President Rodrigo Duterte. In February 2020 the think tank filed a case in the Office of the Ombudsman against government officials who persistently red-tagged it and other groups with no evidence.

Reacting to Celiz’s Nov. 14 allegation, Africa said in an interview:

Our point has always been that the burden of proof is on (Lorraine) Badoy, Celiz and everyone else in the (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict). They're the ones making the claims so they're the ones that should be backing these up… If anyone's playing a propaganda game, it's them -- Badoy and Celiz, the NTF-ELCAC, and whoever else in government [who] can't stand criticism and is using force instead of reason to counter this.

Celiz, a self-confessed former rebel who claims to be knowledgeable of how the CPP-NPA operates, has been disowned by the communist movement. He regularly appears in SMNI’s broadcast shows with former Communications Undersecretary Badoy who currently faces various complaints for red-tagging individuals and groups, including former Vice President Leni Robredo.

Badoy, a former spokesperson for the NTF-ELCAC, also red-tagged IBON during an episode of One News’ “The Chiefs” in January 2020. She was among the government officials that the think tank had sued for red-tagging, along with retired Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. and former National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.

The YouTube stream of the program has garnered 16,000 views, 568 likes and 41 comments as of writing. It was also streamed on SMNI’s Facebook page where it generated 5,700 views, 253 likes and 114 comments. (GJAB)


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