20 February 2017

PCOO to hold all media gathering on social media
The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) will be holding a milestone gathering of the country’s influential media, communications, and public relations personalities on Thursday, February 23, at the Bahay ng Alumni, University of the Philippines – Diliman in Quezon City.

The PCOO-initiated event, dubbed #AllMediaPH, aims to acknowledge the power of social media and present the draft Social Media Policy before various interest groups and industry stakeholders, which include the academe, students, bloggers, mainstream media, and those in the legal profession.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, who will deliver the keynote address, is receptive to the idea of allowing social media practitioners, i.e., bloggers, to cover the Palace’s activities.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte earlier granted the request of some bloggers and social media supporters to cover Palace events during their meeting with the Chief Executive in Malacanan.

Andanar acknowledged the role these bloggers played in disseminating information to the public.

“The bloggers come in because there is an evolution of the media and the bloggers always tell me about Article III, Section 4 of the Constitution,” Secretary Andanar said, referring to the Bill of Rights on the freedom of speech and of expression.

This same Article, the PCO Chief said, has become his basis to consider giving bloggers media accreditation to cover the Palace’s events.

Social media platforms have given their users similar power of spreading information and forming public opinion, making it imperative for the government to consider social media and its platforms, alongside traditional media channels, in developing its communications strategy and communicating directly with the people.

Nonetheless, Andanar, being a former media personality, is aware of the difference between the mainstream media and the bloggers. “I’m from the media. We are accountable to our editors, accountable to our bosses, and that’s the difference. And also the discipline,” he said.

Andanar also underscored the fact that since bloggers work independently, they have different sets of standards.

“We’re in interesting times wherein we are seeing bloggers with names become bigger than anyone… It’s a phenomenon that we have to embrace, at the same time we also have to control,” he said, pointing out that social media is a new way of disseminating information.

Hence, it is important, the PCO Chief said, that bloggers must have a personality, not anonymous, so that they can be held accountable if they write something libelous.

Andanar is looking forward to talk and consult with resource persons and representatives of various sectors during the event in a bid to come up with a social media framework that is acceptable to all concerned.

Some of the event’s important highlights include the presentation of draft Social Media Policy, knowing the stand and opinions of resource persons, and a plenary discussion. ###

Duterte condoles with families of deceased soldiers
President Rodrigo Duterte personally extended his condolences and sympathies to the families of several soldiers who died recently.

Duterte on Monday midnight, February 20, first visited the wake of Army Major Jerico Mangalus at the Villamor Air Base (VAB) Mortuary in Pasay City.

Mangalus, 38, died due to multiple gunshot wounds he sustained in an ambush staged by the Maute terrorist group on February 16 in Marawi City.

The intelligence officer received a posthumous award from the President and Commander-in-Chief, who also extended financial assistance to the family of Mangalus as well as educational scholarship for his children.

The President also paid his last respects to three other soldiers whose remains lie in state at VAB.

He visited the wakes of former Navy officer Libert Chavez, who died of old age; Retired Air Force Msgt. Leonardo Fernando, who also died of old age; and Retired Air Force Col. Oscar Ibarra, who was killed by New People’s Army rebels in Ifugao.

From VAB, the President proceeded to the wake of Col. Orlando Suarez at the Libingan ng mga Bayani Mortuary in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

Suarez, who served as the Assistant Defense and Armed Forces Attaché at the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., died at age 50 on February 11 after suffering from a stroke while on an official trip to Honolulu, Hawaii.###PND

From Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on the Senate presscon of alleged Davao Death Squad member SPO3 Arthur Lascanas
The demolition job against President Duterte continues.

The press conference of self-confessed hitman SPO3 Arthur Lascanas is part of a protracted political drama aimed to destroy the President and to topple his administration.

Our people are aware that this character assassination is nothing but vicious politics orchestrated by sectors affected by the reforms initiated by the Duterte administration.

The Commission on Human Rights, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Senate Committee on Justice already cleared the President of extrajudicial killing and his involvement in the Davao Death Squad.

Bringing change is not an easy task. The Duterte administration has disturbed/disrupted the establishment. However, we remain undistracted in delivering goods and services to serve the people, not just the interest of the few.

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella on De Lima being politically motivated
The Human Rights Watch cavalierly calls for “foreign governments to step up to denounce the Duterte Administration” for its supposed disregard for basic human rights. 

It banally disregards the right of a nation to protect its citizens against the menace of a global drug industry, and terrorist-connected drug trade; and that it has done so with assumption of regularity.

Instead, it profusely quotes the discredited witness Edgar Matobato, and broadly paints the “killings of thousands of alleged drug uses and drug dealers after Duterte took office on June 30” – without carefully delineating what properly belonged to legitimate police operations, internecine/ drug trade cleansing, deaths not related to drugs and deaths under extra legal means.

Human Rights Watch blithely ignores the approximately 1,000,000 users and dealers who turned themselves in, the discovery of industrial size illegal drug factories, and the unimaginable extent that “narco-politics” has gripped local politics, law-enforcement and to some extent the legislative and judicial departments.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II speaking directly says, “It is wrong for Senator de Lima to refer to herself as a political prisoner.  Drug cases do not involve one’s political beliefs. It involves one’s choice to be involved in illegal drugs.” De Lima’s case is not politically motivated.  It is, simply put, “criminal in nature.” The human rights organization might bear that in mind before it attempts to obligate the Duterte Administration.