Interview

Interview with Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Banaag by Jules Guiang (PTV 4 – Bagong Pilipinas)

JULES:  Pag-usapan po natin ang highlights ng NIC 2018, Ma’am.

ASEC. BANAAG:  Yes Jules. Sa mga nakapunta po at mga puwedeng ma-invite pa natin para sa NIC 2019. Maraming naganap doon, gaya ng mga practical na puwedeng pagbabalita, paano matutunan iyong pagre-report live. Nakita nila kung ano ang itsura ng ating mga studio sa Radyo Pilipinas at sa iba’t-ibang line agencies natin.

And of course, iyong mga topics po natin doon sa National Information Convention na mas makakatulong sa ating mga information officers all over.

JULES:  Okay. Asec. Marie, may nabanggit din po si Sec. Andanar, regarding sa isa po sa mga project ng PCOO patungkol po sa pagpapakalat ng satellite receivers para po magkaroon ng libreng internet. So ano po ba iyong mga detalye natin hinggil dito po?

ASEC. BANAAG:  Yes, Jules, it’s on the work doon sa mga barangay level. Other than doon sa pagbibigay ng mga ganyang mga equipments, mga ganyang mga magandang instrumento sa ating mga nasa barangay para mas mabilis ang kanilang pagpapakalat ng impormasyon.

Of course, we wanted to announce of course ang sabi ni Secretary Andanar and iyon po ang uumpisahan nating gawin. Bukas po may barangay assembly pupunta po si—

Sa Wednesday po, may barangay assembly, we would be starting iyong gagawin po natin to recruit information officer sa mga barangay and also train them of course kung papano mag-report live from the barangay levels all over the country.

JULES:  Okay. Maam, ano po iyong magiging participation ng DICT dito po sa initiative ng PCOO?

ASEC. BANAAG:  Sila ang lead agency of course doon sa technical side, doon sa paggawa, iyong practicalities ng paggawa ng… pag-implement ng mga programa na iyan and of  course, not only the DICT, pati DILG makakasama natin diyan doon sa mga pagpapatupad ng ganyang proyektong iyan, Jules.

JULES:  Okay. Ma’am, nakasama ko po kayo dito sa NIC 2018 at isa po sa mga naging buzz words dito na talagang laging nababanggit ng ating mga speakers ay of course iyong fake news. So, ano po ba iyong mga magiging way forward po natin, of course para ma-address itong isyu na ito particularly sa ating mga local communicators mula sa iba’t-ibang mga LGUs?

ASEC. BANAAG:  Yes, Jules. Napaka-byline ng fake news noong NIC; and sa atin, sabi nga natin, hindi lahat ng ating mga nababasa ay totoo. And we have to wary and we have to be more circumspect in so far as—and discerning in so far as doon sa pagkilatis natin doon sa mga bagay-bagay lalo na sa mga kaibigan natin, mga kababayan natin, mga information officers of course sa mga probinsya kung ano iyong mga dapat lang nilang i-share sa kanilang mga walls, sa kanilang mga account sa Facebook at sa twitter and to be—of course as information officers they have to be more responsible with the things that they share kasi sa kanila nakasalalay iyong mga  impormasyon na malalaman ng ating mga kababayang nasa barangay.

JULES:  Okay. Asec. Marie, ang Wikipedia, isa po ito sa mga sikat website na ginagamit ng mga kabataan ngayon. Naglabas po sila ng listahan ng mga websites po sa buong mundo na naglalabas umano ng mga fake news articles. Iyong iba po sa mga nakalista dito ay nase-share din po ng ating mga kababayan. So, ano po ba iyong stake ng PCOO dito?

ASEC. BANAAG:  Well, I think the Secretary would be more inclined to work it out with those officials or those designates of Wikipedia in order to sit down and negotiate and talk about the matter. Kasi siyempre, alam naman natin may mga—in fact, last year, early last year or late 2016, may mga lumabas na information sa Wikipedia na hindi  totoo. So, they too, they too should be accountable for that. Anybody for that matter, any social media platform should be accountable for the things that they post because these are the things that people would believe.

Wikipedia had been there for the longest time, but of course there are things also that they have to correct and siyempre hindi rin naman natin alam kung papano, how they work, the hackers would work, with how they put up information on social media.

So, these things, it has to be discussed because you have to be sensitive, especially now na maraming kumakalat, hindi na natin tuloy—sometimes iyong mga kababayan natin, hindi ba nadidismaya sila, they don’t want to read anymore.

JULES:  Okay. Asec, nabanggit na po natin kanina, na of course NIC 2018 is an effort on the end of the government, but of course the receivers, iyong mga kababayan po natin,  iyon na po iyong responsibility na nasa kanila po.

As Assistant Secretary of PCOO po, ano po ba iyong siguro mga basic na mga strategies or basic na behavior ng ating mga kababayan pagdating po sa social media? Kasi siyempre po nagkakalat po lahat ng mga links iyan, so it’s very convenient kapag nakita agad natin iyan. Some people tend to believe na lang agad and share it. So ano po ba dapat, coming from you, Ma’am, ano po ang advise ninyo sa kanila?

ASEC. BANAAG:  Yes, three things, Jules. First, to be more discerning with the things that we read on social media before sharing it, because if they doubt, they  might as well not share.

Second, they have to check on the link, kung ito ba ay official na news site. If they think they wanted to share a news or they simply wanted to share an opinion, they have to be more discerning about those.

And of course, third, if they wanted to put out their opinions especially for public officials, if they wanted  to put  their opinions, they should have a colatilla, they should have something  to put there na disclaimer… to put in their blogs or their Facebook pages kung ito ba ay official pronouncements or ito ba ay kanilang mga opinion lamang.

JULES:  Okay, thank you so much for those pieces of advice, Ma’am. Para po sa lahat ng mga receivers po natin or the netizens na nanunuod sa atin ngayon.

On another topic naman, Ma’am, I think we should also discuss this. Kasi may mga ibang mga colleagues po natin dito sa press, sa media na some of them are asking or some of them are complaining about press freedom right now in the Philippines.

On the end of the government, Ma’am, ano ba sa tingin ninyo ang lagay ng press freedom ngayon ng ating mediamen?

ASEC. BANAAG:  Well, I don’t think there is censorship. First, if we wanted to get to the bottom of this, if you are talking about Rappler there is no such thing as censorship from government. First, because Rappler can still put up their opinions or their reporting, their news, whatever they call it. They can attack government; they can say anything about government, about the President, that is not a problem. I think that is the issue na gustong ipalabas ng Rappler.

But you know, it has to be clear that all—at the very beginning, Rappler has issues with its legal personality and that should be clear about this. Because up to now naman Rappler can write pa rin, di ba, they still share the news, they can put up anything about them, about the President, about programs of government. Anything, they can put out there.

JULES:  All right thank you so much, Ma’am, for giving that side of the government with regard to this issue. Kasi iyon nga po nagagamit ng iba’t-ibang mga media outfits right now, particularly sa mga headlines, iyon Ma’am.

Siguro before we end in a few—siguro ano po iyong puwede ninyong maging advise lalo na sa ating mga kasamahan sa media, particularly sa print and sa mga websites mismo when they are writing their headlines. Kasi usually, the headlines and the captions, ito lang po iyong binabasa ng ating mga netizens, hindi na nila kini-click kasi nga po for convenience. So they need to—ano  po ba iyong dapat nilang maging angle dito or responsibility nila sa pagsusulat ng headlines and captions, Ma’am?

ASEC. BANAAG:  Yes. Of course, they should be more responsible and not to mislead, misinform iyong ating mga kababayan, like iyong mga reports. Last week, di ba, ang daming mga headlines last week na halimbawa, doon sa threat to democracy. Was there anything really about the report of the US government about it? There was none. It was an opinion, it was a summary of an opinion, that was the headline. Because there was no such thing as—kumbaga ang sabi doon, let’s get to the point, Jules.

Doon sa the President is a threat to democracy, according to US Intelligence report or something like that. Wala namang nakalagay doon sa report, if you read, if you go through it, the whole report, wala namang sinasabi doon, in fact ang sabi niya, will… may mga nakalagay doon ‘will, could…’ ‘Will declare’ like that, ‘could declare martial all over the country,’ all opinion, di ba all opinion. But was there really straight forward declaration that indeed the President is a threat to democracy. There was none. It was all about ‘may, will and could.’ All these things does not necessarily mean that it is indeed, di ba. So these things, you have to be more responsible of course.

Kasi like you said, Jules, hindi ba? Tayo napakabilis di ba, ng binabasa natin; pati nga sa Facebook, kapag maraming photos, we don’t click on all of it, we don’t have time to watch all of photos hindi ba. So gaya din ng especially with something that we have to read di ba, you don’t read down the line already. You just check on the headlines and that’s it.

JULES:  Ma’am, thank you so much. We discussed a lot of things from NIC 2018 to fake news to press freedom and now the responsibility of our fellow mediamen. Thank you so much for your time, Ma’am. Sana po makapanayam po namin kayo with other issues in the future.

ASEC. BANAAG:  Thank you, Jules.

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SOURCE: PCOO – NIB (News and Information Bureau)

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