PCOO, PIA strengthen network to combat fake news

ILOILO CITY, Dec. 18 (PIA) -- The Duterte administration has expanded its information network to further increase awareness on the government’s COVID-19 response and crucial projects and programs.

Undersecretary Ramon Cualoping III, director general of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), emphasized the critical role of communication during crises such as during the COVID pandemic.

He said that government’s communication entities have managed to maximize their resources, especially at the height of the COVID outbreak, when information dissemination has become crucial to the government’s overall crisis response.

“This year we have really strengthened our network backed by 78 provincial offices and 16 regional offices,” Cualoping said during the "Mugstoria Ta," an online conversation hosted by Assistant Secretary Jonji Gonzales of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV).

The crisis has also enabled the PIA to produce “curated and granular reporting” to reach its targeted audiences across the country.

The PIA is the chief development communication arm of the government, and is under the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

The PCOO is in charge of disseminating the government’s message to private media entities, and exercises supervision and control over state-owned media entities to disseminate the official messages properly and effectively in accordance with the communications plan.

Cualoping explained that the current administration is banking on its “Inform, Inform, Inform” campaign to widen the government’s messaging especially on projects and programs that are benefiting the Filipino citizens.

Gonzales echoed that the OPAV has also strengthened its information drive on government-related works, especially in the Visayas.

Mugstoria Ta, OPAV’s official online conversation platform, features government officials and private sector stakeholders to discuss various issues and developments that concern the Visayas region.

“In Mugstoria Ta, we talk to the different government officials and agencies to increase awareness on government projects and programs. This has also become a platform where we pick up the crucial issues and gaps that need to be relayed to the Office of the President,” Gonzales explained.

Mugstoria Ta airs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the official Facebook page of OPAV.

Cualoping said that PCOO, led by Secretary Martin Andanar, also invested in the improvement of the operations of state-owned media entities, such as PTV and Radyo Pilipinas.

Gonzales observed that because of these improvements, many people are now seeing government media as a reliable source of information.

He said many private media organizations nowadays source their news materials from government media entities and the PIA.

With the advent of social media networks, Cualoping said that fake news or disinformation has also become a challenge for the government.

He said that part of government’s messaging efforts is its “Explain, Explain, Explain” drive to educate people on what the government is doing and the policies that it is implementing.

“If majority of our people understand the policies of the government, I don’t think they will share fake news,” he said.

To further boost the government’s communication efforts, Cualoping said that there is also a need to institutionalize the public information office (PIO) in all local government units (LGUs), which is now being pushed by the current administration.

He said that there are still LGUs that do not have a PIO.

The PIO serves as the main communication arm of each LGU that disseminates crucial information and developments regarding their respective localities. It also serves as a main source of news and information of the private media. (PIA6/Story and photos by OPAV Spox Titus Borromeo)

Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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