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Public communicators vow to fight ‘fake news’


Public information officers nationwide on Wednesday vowed to combat fake news by disseminating information that would empower communities to engage in nation-building.

The public communicators made this pledge as 17 representatives from different regions joined Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar in reading the Declaration of Commitment to Responsible Communication during the final day of the National Information Convention (NIC) 2018 at the SMX Convention Center in SM Lanang, Davao City.

The three-day event held Feb. 19-21 was attended by more than 1,600 public information officers across the country.

Recognizing the plurality of information access and distribution in the society, the country’s communicators promised to actively spread positive, factual and beneficial information while upholding transparency and respect for others.

The participants of the first NIC agreed on the call to action amid “the negativity and noises that drown the voices of truth especially in online media conversations.”

Andanar said every public information officer has the responsibility and duty to empower and engage citizenry in nation-building.

“Today is a call to action – the sound of the bugle for the warriors of the world to gather in unison, because it is only through the correct use of words can communication be achieved,” he told the audience.

Andanar promised that PCOO will continue to support the country’s communicators and address their problems including the lack of regular plantilla for communicators or information officers in the local governments.

“Let me assure you that PCOO is here to make sure that the voices of those who speak, write, and broadcast for our government – our fellow information officers from barangays, municipalities, cities, provinces and in the national line agencies – your voices will be heard in this administration,” Andanar said.

Andanar reiterated his call to the country’s information and communication officers to fight misinformation and disinformation.

“Let us put an end to fake news and let us empower the people with the proper information,” he added.

The call to action was one of the highlights of the first NIC organized by the PCOO through the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).

“We held this as our primary initiative, so that information officers such as yourselves will have the necessary tools, mechanisms and capabilities to be a messenger of change,” Andanar said.

Andanar said the PCOO has made great strides in making government media “more up-to-date and influential.”

“We are now more visible and affecting on-air, online, on-print and on-ground. These are our proud achievements for each channel, which will in turn support your efforts in communicating change,” he said.

The government media under PCOO include the PIA, People’s Television Inc., Philippine Broadcasting Service-Radyo Pilipinas, Philippine News Agency under the News and Information Bureau, National Printing Office, Apo Production Unit, Bureau of Communication Service, Radio Television Malacanang and the Office of Secretary (OSec) Media.

Andanar said the declaration of commitment will be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte, hoping it will be transformed into manifesto of support for stronger and empowered government information officers. By Jelly Musico/PNA

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