Military’s “order of battle” include journalists

I’m reposting Carlos Conde’s press statement regarding his inclusion in a watch list document of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Conde is the  former secretary-general of the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines, wrote this press statement upon discovery of AFP Southern Mindanao’s secret “order of battle” document (JCICC “AGILA” 3rd QTR 2007 OB VALIDATION RESULT) where he and other journalists are listed.

At the end of the post is Inquirer’s post about the military’s “order of battle.”

May 19, 2009

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

I found out yesterday 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 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

Inquirer news:

NUJP to Congress: Probe military OB

By Julie M. Aurelio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:46:00 05/22/2009

Filed Under: Media, Military, Espionage & Intelligence

MANILA, Philippines—The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines Thursday called on Congress to conduct an inquiry on whether the military’s intelligence funds were properly used as it decried an “order of battle” that included the NUJP in the roster.

NUJP vice chair Nonoy Espina said there was a danger that intelligence funds were being misused, especially since legitimate groups were apparently being included in the military’s order of battle (OB) of what it considers its enemies.

“We are calling on Congress to exercise its oversight functions to look into the use and abuse of the military’s intelligence funds especially as the OB purportedly includes legitimate groups and media men,” he said.

Espina said the intelligence fund, which he noted came from taxpayers money “is not subject to audit and is in danger of being used to hunt down other taxpayers.”

Among those in the OB purportedly prepared by the 10th Infantry Division of the military were New York Times correspondent Carlos Conde and the NUJP, Espina claimed.

He pointed out that it would not be the first time that the NUJP or other legitimate groups were included in such a list that defined enemy targets.

“The government should openly move to end the use of this OB, especially if they do not define what this OB is for. It’s no coincidence that some names in the OB end up dead,” Espina said.

He added, “They should explain what is meant by ‘targeted,’ because frankly, this OB puts into danger our members as the NUJP is also included in this list.”

Espina said the NUJP was particularly worried about Conde’s inclusion in the list, claiming that some of the names were included on a “false premise.”


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