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Malacañang does not expressly require accredited bloggers to avoid profanity or fake news, presumes they will behave

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For the sake of respecting bloggers’ freedom of expression, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) removed the requirement over cursing or sharing fake news from its interim social media policy.

“We had to delete the requirement, limitation regarding the use of profanity because it might encroach on their freedom of speech,” said PCOO Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan on August 10 in a Malacañang press briefing.

As to how his office will pick bloggers who can produce quality content, Ablan said his office “presumes” the chosen bloggers will behave.

“The presumption is those who will be accredited are law-abiding Filipino citizens who will not use profanity in their articles, who will not use fake news,” he said.

With this presumption, the need to keep bloggers from cursing or spreading misinformation does not have to be expressly written in the social media policy.

“There’s no need to expressly state that you’re not supposed to use profanity in any of your articles,” Ablan added.

However, there were issues before involving pro-Duterte bloggers, such as PCOOA Asec. Mocha Uson, who was suspended from her radio program for cursing Vice President Leni Robredo and calling her a ‘liar,’  ‘fake news,’ ‘stupid,’ and ‘idiot.’

Blogger Rey Joseph Nieto, also known as “Thinking Pinoy,” once cursed and showed his middle finger at the Malacañang Press Corps in a video.

Image from: Rappler

Given Uson’s post as an Assistant Secretary for Social Media, it is her responsibility to accredit bloggers and come up with policies.

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In a Rappler report, it was noted that the draft social media policy contained rules preventing accredited bloggers from using foul language. The topic was discussed during a forum that aimed to gather inputs from different sectors, some of whom wanted the bloggers to follow a code of conduct. Others wanted the PCOO to stop social media personalities from harassing and making online threats. But given the recent change in the policy, it seems that PCOO gave in to the bloggers.

“In the initial draft, we put a limitation, but when we did, including [the provision on] profanity, we were in a heated debate regarding freedom of speech so the content is free as long as it’s their own opinion,” Ablan said.

The PCOO also changed the requirements to accommodate more bloggers, such as the lower minimum number of followers and the output they would produce after covering the President.

Ablan said the PCOO initially had more stringent requirements, but gave in to Uson’s demand of a more “populist” and “open” social media policy.

“We tried to abide by the United Nations mininum standards but with discussions with Assistant Secretary Uson and her staff, they opted for a more populist, open accreditiaton process,” said Ablan.

He added that by requiring only at least 5,000 followers, more provincial bloggers can be accommodated by the accreditation policy. They also changed the initial requirement of “daily” original content to “regular” original content.

“Some objected to that because blogging is not their first job. They have day jobs and they do blogging regularly but they said, ‘We can’t do original content everyday. What if we do content 3 times a week? With your very high standard, we won’t get accredited,'” said Ablan.

Ablan said the social media policy will run for six months, serving as its “probationary” period.

He added that despite not having stricter regulations, Ablan said he can only hope that accredited bloggers will “behave properly.”

“Hopefully, once they get accredited, they realize the importance of the accreditation they receive and they behave properly,” he said.

In February, bloggers seeking accreditation from the Palace insisted that their use of profanity not be regulated because that is how they are able to obtain the kind of reach that they have.

“If traditional media is the very proper East Coast, we’re the Wild West where [the] reason why we have such a wild reach is precisely because we are a little freer in our speech,” lawyer Trixie Cruz-Angeles said, defending the bloggers.

She said that bloggers “precisely have their reach because we don’t observe the right conduct.”

Thinking Pinoy also questioned the PCOO’s original requirement on how the office would be able to determine whether the blogger’s language was offensive or not.

“Anong basehan para maging offensive, inflammatory, or provocative ang isang lenggwahe? Dahil po para sa aming mga karaniwang tao lang, maraming mga salita sa amin ay hindi offensive, inflammatory, or provocative pero para sa balat sibuyas ay offensive, inflammatory, at provocative. So ang tanong po, sino po ang magde-decide kung ano ang #disente?” TP asked in his video message.

Netizens react

After news erupted about the social media policy in accrediting bloggers, netizens reacted to their requirements.

The British Fashion Council has higher standards than the PCOO.

More Mochas then?

“What a joke.”

Will this legitimize fake news?

One Twitter user computed how many more followers she needs to reach PCOO’s minimum requirement.

Another one gave this analogy: “Giving social media people media accreditation is like giving out drivers licenses to people who can’t drive.”

Sources: ( rappler.com , fhm.com.ph )

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Netizens slam Duterte for saying women ‘could not stand threats and intimidation’

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President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak for another controversial comment involving women after he remarked on May 24 that women “could not stand threats and intimidation.”

Duterte said that while he believed in women’s competence, it does not necessarily ring true in all aspects of life.

“I believe in the woman, the competence and capability, pero hindi lahat sa buhay dapat.Hindi ka, hindi, hindi. Dapat lang. It’s not appropriate when you cannot stand threats and intimidation,” he said in his May 24 speech.

He also said that women should be “prim and proper” and talked about his reservation in sending women police and soldiers to the field because unlike men, they did not grow up with a mindset that involves violence.

“Ang mga babae, sundalo pati pulis, ayaw ko ‘yan sa bukid. Unlike men kami, maliit pa lang, suntukan, bakbakan, barilan. And we grew up with a sort of a mindset na sometimes prone to violence. Itong mga babae, prim and proper man ‘yan, isang tingin lang sa nanay niyan, wala na tunaw na ‘yan. Tapos gawin mong pulis, ipaaway mo doon. Naku,” Duterte remarked.

Netizens then took to social media to react to Duterte’s most recent statements, making #BabaeAko trend again on Twitter.

“Mr. President, you just horrifyingly disrespected your own mother who bravely fought against the Marcos dictatorship. She withstood threats and intimidation. Siya ay babae! #BabaeAko,” a Twitter user remarked.

Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun spoke out, too, saying “I am threatened and intimidated a lot. All my life. Don’t me. #BabaeAko.”

So did film and theater actress Chai Fonacier, who said, “Encouraging women — and I mean including those who identify as women — and our friends from the entire spectrum to share your #BabaeAko statements to fight the misogyny that the President and his ilk normalize through their behavior. Make them remember the feminine strength.”

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago also reacted, saying she refused to be stereotyped.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay urged other Filipinos to protest against Duterte’s misogynistic statements.

Other Twitter users weighed in on the issue.

Duterte’s previous misogynistic remarks

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His remarks in his speech on May 24 seemed to have sought to explain another controversial remark he made on May 16 when he said that he did not want a politician, especially a woman, to become the next Ombudsman.

“Mag-nominate sila, pero I choose, but gusto ko ‘yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae,” he said during a chance interview.

This gave birth to the launching of the #BabaeAko movement on social media on May 21 by women activists and other people who also want to protest Duterte’s misogynistic and sexist statements.

One of  the women who joined the #BabaeAko campaign was former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo who said, “Akala ko taumbayan ang boss ni Duterte. Yun pala sina Marcos, Gloria, Trump at China. Para sa bayang makatarungan at malaya, lalaban ako.”

In February, he was also slammed for telling his audience of former NPA rebels that he told his soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

Sources: ( rappler.comphilstar.com )

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New DOT chief to ask Montano why he rushed official New York engagement to watch Broadway show

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Newly installed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she plans on talking with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Cesar Montano to ask for his side on certain accusations that were hurled against him.

Among these accusations came from an Abante report where Montano was said to have rushed a speaking engagement staged by the DOT in New York to watch the Broadway musical show “Hamilton.”

DOT reportedly launched the Philippine Tourism Presentation and Dinner Reception on May 9 to showcase Philippine tourism and fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Montano was introduced as the event’s keynote speaker, but he was said to have only spoken for a bit before hurriedly leaving the venue, disappointing the guests, which also included US officials.

Montano was said to have been invited to the event in behalf of the now-resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. He was also named as one of the two hosts, the other being Teo, of the said event.

In reaction to this report about Montano, Puyat said she would talk to Montano as well as the Tourism attache and other DOT officials who attended the event to verify the accusation in the report mentioned above.

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Puyat said that she would investigate into the “Buhay Carinderia” program that the TPB is set to implement. This was after Philippine Star Boo Chanco accused Montano of issuing P80-million worth of three checks to the event proponent and organizer.

“I still don’t have the papers. I will be asking [and] will be arranging a meeting with Mr. Cesar Montano to ask about ‘yung mga nabasa ko sa ‘Buhay Carinderia’ – kung totoo ba na walang bidding ‘yung P80 million na advance,” Puyat said on May 15.

“I’m planning to talk to him and ask his side. I want to ask all those who were there if it actually happened,” Puyat added.

In March 2017, TPB employees filed a complaint against Montano for his alleged corruption and mismanagement of the agency. These include hiring friends and relatives, using TPB’s funds for personal trips, and showing incompetence in fulfilling his obligations as the agency’s COO.

Sources: ( tnt.abante.com.phphilstar.comrappler.com )

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Eldest Tulfo vows to help Wanda clear her name, berates ‘black sheep’ Ben over controversial P60-M DOT ad deal

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Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo spoke up about the controversy involving his siblings, now resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and hosts Ben and Erwin Tulfo, over the P60 million tourism ad deal.

The eldest Tulfo wrote in his Inquirer column on May 10 that while President Rodrigo Duterte himself advised the Tulfo family to avoid talking to the media, he took it upon himself as the family’s acting patriarch to tell the story behind the controversy.

First up, Ramon blamed Teo for not hiring smart staff members who could have advised her against inking a deal with PTV 4, where one of the Tulfo brothers, Ben, was a blocktimer.

As a blocktimer, Ben pays for his TV show’s airtime on the state-run channel.

According to Ramon, Wanda was only complying with President Duterte’s injunction for his Cabinet secretaries to support PTV 4, adding that she did not know Ben’s company would get most of the multimillion advertising contract with DOT.

He also hit Ben, whom he called a “black sheep” with a “middle child” syndrome as the fifth child out of 10 siblings, for signing the P60-million advertising contract with PTV 4 despite knowing that there would be a conflict of interest on Wanda’s part.

Ramon also said that Wanda still tried to save Ben, who insisted on his innocence amid the controversy, leading her to resign from her post. He also explained that Wanda seemed to have forgotten the fact that her husband was on the board of director of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), a part of DOT, when Duterte appointed her as tourism chief. He added that it should have been up to her husband to step down from his post upon his wife’s appointment.

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In the same column, he also slammed Wanda’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, whom he said did not even consult the Tulfo brothers on returning the P60-million funds from the ad deal. He also described the lawyer as “all talk,” a counsel who’s only focused on gaining publicity for himself.

Unlike what has been previously reported about Wanda resigning out of delicadeza amid the controversy, Ramon let it slip that he commended President Duterte for “sacking Wanda,” prompting some people to ask whether Wanda was fired instead of resigned.

Before he ended his column, he vowed to support “Wanda’s fight to clear her name, but not Ben’s.”
Wanda resigned on May 8 to show delicadeza and to spare everyone, especially Duterte, from the pain caused by the controversy, according to her lawyer.

The issue started with the Commission on Audit’s report showing the DOT paying P60 million worth of commercials to PTV 4, which in turn, tapped Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. to air the tourism ads during Ben and Erwin’s show “Kilos Pronto.”

Malacañang said that Teo’s resignation does not mean that she is off the hook since the Ombudsman is still looking into her and other government officials involved in the controversial ad deal.

Sources: ( inquirer.netnews.abs-cbn.com , nnphilippines.com )

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