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PCOO wants additional P245-M for activities including media literacy program to fight fake news



Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said that he has requested for P245 million more to boost the budget of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) in conducting activities including its media literacy program in fighting fake news.

Andanar revealed PCOO’s plans to hold the said program during the September 20 Senate hearing on the office’s proposed P1.35 billion budget for 2018.

Asked by Senator JV Ejercito on what his office has been doing to address the spread of fake news, Andanar said that the PCOO supports the Senate bill against fake news passed by Senator Joel Villanueva and is planning on conducting media literacy training in the countryside.

“We’re already drafting an activity that will [fight] fake news through a media literacy program that we are going to be bringing to the grassroots level,” Andanar said.

He added that he already requested for P245 million to boost his office’s budget to spend on several activities, including the media literacy program.

“We have already asked [for] an amended, proposed P245-million additional budget for PCOO. This will include activities on fake news that we will bring to the entire country, countryside,” Andanar said.

The Communications Secretary also said that the PCOO, in its position as the chair of the information committee of the 50th year of the ASEAN, addressed the issue of “delivering the right information to the public” with its ASEAN counterparts. During the forum, the member countries shared “best practices” on ensuring the dissemination of accurate information.

“A couple of weeks back, we initiated … a roundtable discussion on fake news and delivering the right information to the public. So we gathered the information ministers of ASEAN countries in Quezon City and we all talked about, we all suggested best practices that we have to the members of the delegation,” Andanar said.

As for the accusations against the PCOO of spreading fake news, particularly with Communications Asec. Mocha Uson being accused of sharing false information, Andanar denied that his office has shared fake news.

He noted how the news agencies he managed have no problem with fake news.

“If we watch PTV4, the audience will know there is no fake news on PTV4. You will not hear fake news on Radyo Pilipinas. If you happen to talk to Philippine Information Agency staff in the provinces, which by the way are in charge on the ground for development communication, you will not hear any fake news,” he said.


However, the Philippine News Agency (PNA), one of the news agencies under PCOO, has committed a few blunders before. It was busted using a Vietnam war photo from Wikimedia Commons for a Marawi siege-related article and was slammed for using the logo of pineapple processing company Dole Philippines for a story related to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Uson was hit for sharing false information on her popular Facebook page. She was caught sharing a photo of Honduran police while asking for prayers for Filipino soldiers in Marawi, which she later defended with the reason that it was her way of using #Symbolism. Uson was also blasted for posting the misleading information when she dared Vice President Leni Robredo to visit the wake of a cop who was killed in 2016 after Robredo and other senators visited the wake of slain student Kian delos Santos. This led to #FireMocha to trend as netizens called for her resignation from office.

Andanar then explained that as Uson said in her disclaimer on her page, she stated that her posts on her Facebook account Mocha Uson Blog do not reflect PCOO’s views on issues.

“Siya mismo ang nagsabi na ang kanyang Facebook page sa kanya lamang at kung anong sasabihin niya, sariling opinyon at hindi reflective ng PCOO kaya meron siyang disclaimer doon at sabi niya, I duly insist na ganun ‘yung magiging sistema,” Andanar said.

“But then again, there’s also a debate: If you’re a political appointee, do you stop being political? We all know that Asec. Mocha Uson is a staunch supporter who will fight tooth and nail for the President and we have to give her that,” he added.

But Senator Nancy Binay said that it is quite tough to separate Uson’s blogging personality from Uson as a government official.

“Ang hirap i-separate na Mocha na private citizen at Mocha na Asec. How can you, Secretary Andanar, fight fake news kung may mga instances na nanggagaling mismo sa isang Asec? I guess yun yung magiging dilemma,” Binay said.

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



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


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.

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



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.


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.

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



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.


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.

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