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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, January 11, 2018
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PCOO bridging gap
to counter fake news

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) officials yesterday said they were in Bacolod City to workat bridging the information gap between Malacañang and the provinces, amid the proliferation of “fake news”.

There is an ongoing “information warfare” out there, PCOO Director III, Princess Duque, said.

Duque and PCOO Assistant Secretary Ana Maria Paz Rafael-Banaag met with government officials, the media and 50 information officers of local and national government offices in Negros Occidental.

It is important to inform the public of programs of the government to enable them to access them, Banaag said,

“We cannot build walls because we have a president who wants to work with everyone,” she said.

She denied widespread allegations that the Duterte administration has hired trolls to attack critics and spread fake news on social media.

The National Bureau of Investigation and Philippine National Police cybercrime offices do not have the capability to take down social media accounts responsible for bashing and the proliferation of fake news, Banaag said.

It would be better to ask the social media platforms to do something to regulate such activity, she said.

Duque, PCOO director for new media, said it is government in fact that is being bashed by trolls.

She said the PCOO‘s work is to combat fake news , especially those that create panic.

Duque called on the public to practice critical thinking to determine what is fake and what is true news.

“Think before you share (information), think before you click,” she said.

Banaag said they have an ongoing campaign where they ask students to practice self regulation and be responsible sharers of news. “If you think it's not true, don't share it,” she said.


Banaag said the push towards a shift to a federal form of government is a campaign promise of the president, and PCOO is working at informing the public about it.

“We don't want federalism to fail,” she said, pointing out that people in the provinces will get a bigger share of the pie under it.

On the possibility of no elections, she said that is if a plebiscite is held on a shift toward federalism but the matter in in the hands of Congress.

She could not say if current officials will stay in a hold over capacity during the transition towards a federal form of government, saying it is matter for Congress to act on.

In a meeting with the Provincial Communication Officers Network (PCO Net) members yesterday, the PCOO officials said there is a need to bring news and information from Malacañang to the LGUs, schools and even private information officers, and ensure that the policies and plans of the Duterte administration are communicated to every Filipino.*CPG




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