BOHOL (PIA) -- Communications Secretary Martin M. Andanar and other officials of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) has launched recently the Provincial Communications Officers Network (PCONet) here as a galvanizing force to help government educate netizens and the public in countering the spread of fake news and disinformation.“When we disseminate real information, we are actually doing service to society and to the next generation. This is important for all of us in nation building,” said Andanar before close to a hundred participants composed of public information officers from local government units (LGUs) and regional line agencies, academe, youth and local media.
Andanar cited the gains of the Duterte Administration such as the almost double growth of foreign direct investments into the country and the significant drop of crime volume, which has earned the Philippines a favorable image as an investment hub.
“The foreign direct investment inflows at the end of 2015 was at 5.6 billion dollars which grew to 10 billion dollars at the end of 2017,” said Andanar.
According to the communications secretary, crime volume also dropped by 21 percent from 1.2 million in July 2014 to April 2016 down to 962,000 in July 2016 to April 2018.
“These are real numbers,” as Andanar further cited the positive gross domestic product (GDP) growth of the country which stands at 6.7 percent at the end of last year.
“These are the reasons why investors are coming in and why Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged 1.3 trillion yen or 500 billon pesos” for investment and development assistance to the Philippines, stressed Andanar.
Andanar said the good news from the government are drowned by bad news and fake news especially through social media. He asked the participants to help counter fake news and spread the good news so people will be informed.
The use of government machinery will be employed to thwart fake news, Andanar said citing the PCOO attached agencies like the Philippine News Agency, Radyo Pilipinas, People’s Television Network and the online platforms of Radio TV Malacañang, PCOO and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA). Private media and the information officers are also crucial to address fake news, Andanar said.
“The PIA will take the lead” in educating the public about the dangers of fake news, Andanar said.
PIA Director-General Harold Clavite, who was also present during the launch, said addressing disinformation should be a government-community-private sector-academe effort as “we need to work hand in hand to address this issue that’s affecting our communities. We need to make a stand altogether to change the public information landscape in the country,” he added.
Clavite said that PIA will roll out the advocacy campaign on media and information literacy (MIL) by the second semester, which basically educates the public on how to counter wrong information and promote cyberwellness. The campaign is an offshoot of the ASEAN commitment to address these issues. The Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) had allocated funds for this purpose and the Philippines through PIA and the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore are finalizing the campaign plan that will be rolled out in all ten ASEAN member states this year.
“This is part of our commitment, together with the Government of Singapore, to take the lead in MIL for the ASEAN information sector,’ disclosed Clavite adding that the information drive will start in school campuses in the Philippines.
Clavite said our country is too focused on politicking and that we need to value the role each person plays in addressing the proliferation of wrong information.
PCOO Director Princess Pebbles Duque also gave a briefing on the agency’s priority program on “Dismiss Disinformation” campaign.
Primary objectives of the PCONet is to deliver news and updates from Malacañang straight to the LGUs, and enhance their quality of communication for a more integrated messaging. (Fayette C. Rinen/PIA7)
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