Filipino authors say dictating what should be written is a form of terrorism

“We believe that the accusers have not read our books in entirety… We believe it is a form of terrorism to dictate what can be written and how to write it.”


MANILA – Five Filipino authors asserted that former National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Spokesperson Lorraine Badoy’s statements dictating what should be written is a form of terrorism.

In a joint statement, Reuel Molina Aguila, Dexter B. Cayanes, Malou Jacob, Don Pagasura and Rommel B. Rodriguez said the allegations of NTF-ELCAC against them are false and should be retracted.

“We believe that the accusers have not read our books in entirety…We believe it is a form of terrorism to dictate what can be written and how to write it,” the five authors said in their statement written in Filipino.

They added that the allegations are also libelous and have put their lives in danger.

They added that until now, some commissioners of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) and the hosts of the program, have not been able to show any solid proof of their allegations.

“All they have shown are specific words, parts of dialogue, and even bibliography that they try to associate with subversion and terrorism. It seems that the mere use of the word or reference to the event is immediately condemned as terrorism or subversion. They just seem to want something to write and how to write it,” they said.

The authors said that they were invited by the KWF to publish their written works. But when some of the books have been printed, and others are about to be printed, some KWF commissioners generally labeled their works as subversive, and critical of the Marcos and Duterte administrations.

“The internet program Laban Kasama ang Bayan also intervened and immediately accused our books of being part of CCP/NPA terrorism,” the authors said.

SMNI program hosts, including Badoy, linked KWF’s Arturo Casanova and the publications to the underground organizations for merely citing these as references in their works. These include books such as the Philippine Society and Revolution, published works by National Democratic Front of the Philippines Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison and Juliet de Lima, as well as works of the late art critic and historian Alice Guillermo and the late National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, who they tagged as leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines in the academe.

On August 9, the KWF also released Memorandum Order No. 2022-0663 banning publication and distribution of the said books.

Read via our mirror site: KWF bans publication-distribution of 5 new books

Casanova, in a separate statement, also denied accusations against him. He said the five books went through the KWF review process.

“All books are normally subject to the review and passed to the KWF publication unit, including receiving the imprimatur/approval of two full-time commissioners. I never railroaded or forced the publication of these books. Aside from this, the accusation that these books are subversive is dangerously undermining the freedom of the free press and academic freedom,” Casanova said in Filipino.

“KWF should be the one to lead the efforts in developing our language. Contrary to misleading accusations, the KWF is not limited to publishing dictionaries and linguistic technical materials. Rather, we are tasked to develop and cultivate/enrich the Filipino language,” he added.

Meanwhile, various members of the academe expressed their support to the five authors as well as Casanova.

In a statement, more than 30 language, culture, and educational departments or organizations emphasized that “reading, analyzing, scrutinizing, citing, and using any reading material, regardless of the writer and the publisher, is part of the academic freedom of writers, teachers, researchers, and all citizens.”

They said that many books – be it in Filipino or English – will certainly cite or quote materials from various references, including those from groups considered by the government as subversive or revolutionary.

But they assert that “such citation should not be treated as agreement or sympathy with the cited material, but rather a part of the typical academic and scholarly process of analyzing various sources. Granted for the sake of argument that a book agrees or sympathizes with a political ideology, such socially committed writing tradition is respected in the whole world and considered as an important element of any country that calls itself as democratic.”

They also called on Congress to investigate SMNI’s red-tagging broadcasts as these violate constitutional provisions on free expression.

Human rights group Karapatan also denounced the red-tagging of the five authors as well as Casanova.

In a statement, Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay called the banning and halting of distribution of the books as “shameless and idiotic acts.”

“Those responsible for these acts are deranged individuals who use their platforms or their previous or current association with the NTF-ELCAC to deny the public with much-needed literature and materials encouraging critical thinking and knowledge on Filipino history and language,” Palabay said.

Palabay also said that the KWF memorandum which order to stop the publication and distribution of the books tagging them as “subversive,” “anti-government,” and with “anti-Marcos, anti-Duterte” content, sets a dangerous precedent in the exercise of academic freedom and the promotion of creative and scholarly work.

“We condemn the halt of publication and distribution of the books, which were all produced out of the laborious creative and scholarly work of writers and members of the academe. We denounce the red-tagging of KWF chairperson Dr. Arthur Casanova and the authors of the said publications,” Palabay said. (JJE, RVO) (

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