Anti-fake news blitz

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Almost there Ballots for the midterm elections start to print yesterday, Commission on Elections spokesman James Jimenez announced. ANALY LABOR

Malacañang has launched a massive campaign to stamp out fake news as the nation enters the campaign season for the midterm elections and amid the hysteria caused by the Dengvaxia mess, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said yesterday.

He added the PCOO’s Dismiss Disinformation Campaign (DDC) will bring together the resources of the Philippine Information Agency, Philippine News Agency (PNA), People’s Television Network (PTV) and Radyo Pilipinas.

The campaign will be a main feature of the press freedom caravan which seeks to explain policies on media and also the numerous enacted laws to groups here and overseas, he said.

Among the maiden task of the DDC would be to help the Department of Health (DoH) in convincing the public on the integrity of the vaccination program since it was affected by the immunization program regarding Dengvaxia.

“You know, it has really a negative effect, since the Dengvaxia issue affected the immunization program. In the spread of measles, pneumonia and other diseases that could have been prevented by immunization,” Andanar said.

“President Rodrigo Duterte also offered to lend a hand to Health Secretary Francisco Duque to restore public trust in the Department of Health immunization program,” he added.

“He would say something, I think in one of the coming events and there will be a program that Secretary Duque will unveil together with the PCOO which actively supports the DoH. We will deliver the things that we can deliver under the PCOO,” Andanar added.

All resources employed

An information program will counter the false news being spread mainly on social media against President Duterte’s administration.

“We will report in the PNA, PTV, we will broadcast in Radyo Pilipinas, RTVM and social media so many will see the aggressiveness in providing accurate news on the national government. So we are working in one direction, one voice, one government and I’m very happy that this is really happening in our two years and eight months of hard work,” he added.

“As PCOO secretary, I also ensure engagement with the media because this is our way of soliciting suggestions and finding out the issues faced by the media in their respective localities. It is important to know their issues so we know how to address them collaboratively,” Andanar said.

As part of ensuring the general interests of the media, the secretary then cited the issuance of Freedom of Information and the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) as the first two administrative orders issued by the Duterte administration.

“These two administrative orders which we champion paved the way for the Philippines to be delisted from the world’s top countries dangerous for journalists. This happened last year, nine years after the Maguindanao massacre,” he said.

Going global

Andanar also mentioned the efforts of PCOO in establishing the Office of the Global Media Affairs, as well as its smooth relationship with the international media which led to the facilitation of foreign press coverage during the return of Balangiga bells and the Bangsamoro Organic Law plebiscite.

Andanar also mentioned about the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which he facilitated in behalf of the Philippines with the countries of Myanmar and Thailand.

“These MoU are similar with the ones we have with China, Hungary, Russia, Cambodia and South Korea. These led to continuing education or executive courses for media men and women in the country which are not only limited to government media but have been expanded to private media as well so that they have the equal opportunity to learn from these countries,” the PCOO exec said.

Copies of a manual called “Handbook on Personal Security Measures for Media Practitioners,” which was published by the PTFoMS, were also distributed during the meeting.

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