PCOO Chief: Duterte admin to continue respecting PH press freedom

Robie de Guzman   •   May 3, 2019   •   1358

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar

MANILA, Philippines – The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte will continue to respect press freedom in the country, Malacañang assured as the public marked the World Press Freedom on Friday (May 3).

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said in a statement that the Duterte government has been implementing programs that would protect members of the media, contrary to allegations of the President’s critics.

“Asahan niyo po na patuloy na irerespeto ng Duterte administration ang press freedom sa bansa taliwas sa mga alegasyon ng iilan.” Andanar said.

(You can expect that the Duterte administration will continue to respect the press freedom in the country, contrary to the allegations of some)

“Ilan lamang po sa mga patunay na iginagalang at pinoprotektahan ng administrasyon ang mga mamamahayag sa bansa ay ang Presidential Task Force on Media Security o PTFoMS na agad na nilagdaan ng pangulo sa unang mga buwan ng kanyang pamamahala,” he added.

(Among the initiatives that will prove that the administration respects and protects media practitioners in the Philippines is the creation of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security or PTFoMS which he immediately ordered in his first months in office)

Duterte, in October 2016, signed his first Administrative Order 1, which created the presidential task force on violations of the right to the liberty and security of the members of the media.

For his agency, Andanar assured to intensify their campaign against disinformation and the proliferation of false reports.

“Tayo naman po sa PCOO ay patuloy ang kampanya natin laban sa disinformation o pagpapakalat ng fake news sapagkat isa po ito sa sumisira sa malayang pamamahayag,” he said.

(We at the PCOO will continue to campaign against disinformation or the spread of fake news as this is one of the factors that destroys freedom of expression)

“Tayo naman po ay kaisa ng lahat ng mediamen sa bansa at sa buong mundo sa pagsusulong at pangangalaga sa karapatan sa press freedom,” he added.

(We are one with the all the mediamen in the country and the world in pushing and protecting for the right to press freedom)

President Rodrigo Duterte has been under fire for openly criticizing several media organizations and even threatened to block the renewal of franchise of one of the country’s biggest media networks.

He also recently lambasted a group of investigative journalists for allegedly conspiring with other critical groups in a bid to ruin his family’s reputation.

READ: Duterte hits PCIJ for report on family’s wealth

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), meanwhile, called on its colleagues to remain courageous despite the government’s alleged suppression of the press.

“On this day, let us, the community of independent and critical Filipino journalists, reflect on our role in the preservation and advancement of democracy, and rededicate ourselves to defending our rights and liberties that we may continue serving our people’s right to know,” the NUJP said in a statement.

“Let us take courage in the knowledge that no matter how despots strive to stifle freedom of expression and thought, the media, the truth, the people, will outlive them,” the group added.

The group claimed that Duterte is the only president in the country’s history that has openly led the attacks against media, with the help of “the venal and corrupted within the profession.”

“As we mark this day, we note that, more than any administration since the unlamented Marcos Dictatorship, never have freedom of the press and of expression been under siege as during the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte,” the NUJP said.

“Never has any president, Marcos included, openly spearheaded the attacks and vilification of media. We have also seen how he and his minions wield the lie as a weapon against the profession of truth,” it added.

With the recent release of the alleged “ouster matrix,” they also accused Duterte of upping “the ante and signaled that he will go to absurd lengths to stifle the independent and critical media.” (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte doesn’t want to rest despite doctor’s advice – Bong Go

Robie de Guzman   •   November 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte doesn’t want to heed his doctor’s advice to take a rest, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said Wednesday.

Go, a former top aide of Duterte, said the president prefers to continue working and performing his official duties while he is staying in his hometown in Davao City.

“Sa totoo lang, ayaw magpahinga ng Pangulo, kahit sabihin mong he was advised by the doctor to rest,” he told reporters in Malacañang.

“Hindi po siya makatagal sa bahay at talagang gusto niyang magtrabaho at gumala,” he added.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Monday said the chief executive would go on a three-day break but later said he would just work from home in Davao City.

The Palace previously said the president’s doctor had advised him to limit his physical activity after he complained of “unbearable” pain in his spine following a minor motorcycle accident within the Malacañang complex on Oct. 16.

Duterte was in Japan to attend Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement ceremony when he complained of spinal ache and had to cut his trip short. After consultation with his doctor, Panelo said the president experienced a muscle spasm.

Go assured that Duterte is in good shape, adding that the chief executive is set to visit North Cotabato on Friday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Malacañang lambasts Drilon for calling Duterte’s infra program a ‘dismal failure’

Marje Pelayo   •   November 13, 2019

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Franklin Drilon

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang dismissed Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon’s claim that the administration’s Build Build Build program is a dismal failure.

Drilon claimed that the administration has only started nine out of 75 flagship projects in the past three years in office.

“It is sad to say that the BBB program of the administration is a dismal failure. Out of the 75 flagship projects that were proposed at the start of the administration, exactly nine started construction,” Drilon told reporters.

“That is only two percent of the total,” he added.

But Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo was quick to dismiss Drilon’s claim as baseless stressing that the Duterte administration had accomplished more than the previous administration.

 “Senator Frank, look at the administration you previously belonged. Six years, not a single infrastructure na nagawa (was completed). Malayong-malayo sa dami [nang nagawa ng administrasyon ngayon] (It doesn’t compare with the achievements of this administration),” Panelo said.

“It’s baseless […] maraming ginagawa ang administrasyon (this administration is working on a lot of projects),” he added.

Malacañang believes that the current management of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is effectively handling these projects.

Thus, Panelo said the Palace is confident that before President Rodrigo Duterte ends his term, majority of the projects under the Build, Build, Build program will be completed. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

PH as world’s biggest rice importer concerns Malacañang

Marje Pelayo   •   November 12, 2019

Filipino port workers unload sacks of rice, which are imported from Vietnam to be distributed by the National Food Authority (NFA), inside a ship docked at Surigao port, Mindanao, southern Philippines. EPA-EFE/ALLANAH TORRALBA (FILE)

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang does not deny being concerned about recent reports that the Philippines is currently the world’s top rice importer.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, such report may be true but the government is making sure that the Department of Agriculture (DA) is on top of the situation.

“Ginagawa naman ni Secretary Dar ang kaniyang mga pamamaraan (Secretary Dar is finding ways) to solve whatever problems confronting the farmers,” Panelo said.

The report published by the United States’ Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agricultural Services (USDA-FAS) projected the Philippines rice importation to reach a record high by year-end – about 3 million metric tons – the highest in the world and the country’s highest ever recorded.

This projection is way higher than China, the biggest rice importer so far at 2.5 million metric tons by year-end.

Malacañang, meanwhile, blames the country’s lack of irrigation as the main reason for the increase in rice importation. – MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

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