07 March 2017

PCOO, PSG hold digital media confab
Social media will play a bigger role in the future of the nation and there is a clear need for its truthful and quality content.

This was stressed during the Digital Media Forum with the theme, “Advocating Positive Change Through Digital Media” held on Tuesday, March 7 at the Presidential Studio, Kalayaan Hall, Malacañan Palace.

The forum was sponsored by the Office of the President through the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and the Presidential Security Group (PSG).

The event was organized to underscore the Duterte administration’s continued commitment to transparency in government.

Former Interior and Local Government Secretary Rafael Alunan III said that parents should be responsible for their children’s use of social media.

“Social media is an important part of socialization that markets goods and services as well as motivate people to become part of a larger community,” Alunan said.

“It offers our kids new ways to access communication and entertainment but let’s put it this way–the long-term effects on our children are still unknown because there are pluses and negatives,” he said.

Alunan said there is a continuing need for “quality content” and asserted that “the opposite of that is garbage in, garbage out, you feed our mind garbage and we turn out garbage.”

Alunan added that a discerning online citizenry is the best defense against the prevalence of “fake news,” adding that the phenomenon was a product of the political climate.

“We have to self regulate and… fake news has to be condemned because it’s not the truth,” he said.

“If we want to be a just society, justice requires truth to back it up,” he added, saying that failing to filter fake news creates social ills.

Meanwhile,Therese “Gang” Badoy Capati, founder of RockEd Philippines, opined that fake news traces its roots to the tendency of humans to tell untruths.

Badoy said the best defense would be to be more discerning about consuming news online and be more responsible in reading all dimensions, including contradictory positions on issues.

For his part, PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar said the thrust to support social media reflects the administration’s commitment to public accountability.

“This administration is all about transparency,” Andanar said. “Wala po tayong tinatago. As a matter of fact, the second Executive Order that the President signed… was Executive Order No. 2 on Freedom of Information.”

Andanar pointed out that the Duterte administration is crafting guidelines that will allow bloggers to cover Malacañang events along with mainstream media.

Andanar also announced the government’s plans to beef up the state’s media agencies, particularly Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM), People’s Television Network (PTV 4), Philippine News Agency (PNA), Radyo ng Bayan and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).

“PNA is supposed to be the premiere newswire of the country. How do we communicate the good news of government out there if we don’t have a credible wire agency? So we’re fixing that too. Soon PNA will have its own newscast. Its own TV channel. We are fixing the online presence,” Andanar said. ###PND

Palace welcomes approval of 2017 Investment Priorities Plan
President Rodrigo Duterte approved the 2017 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) aimed at fostering a sound business environment across the regions.

In a press briefing in Malacañan on Tuesday, March 7, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the priority investment areas will be in manufacturing, including agri-processing, agriculture, fishery and forestry, strategic services, infrastructure and logistics, including local government unit and public-private partnership, and health care services, including drug rehabilitation.

Mass housing, inclusive business models, environment and climate change, innovation drivers, energy and export businesses are also included.

Abella also announced that the Duterte administration’s Philippine Development Plan ‎2017-2022 is now available in the official website of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The Philippine Development Plan ‎2017-2022 is anchored on the 10-point socio-economic agenda of the Duterte administration.

“This is also the first step in achieving our long-term vision, dubbed as AmBisyon 2040,” Abella said.

In connection with the celebration of Women’s Day on March 8, Wednesday, Abella said the Palace takes pride in the good news that eight out of the 10 Philippine Military Academy (PMA) topnotchers this year are women.

According to Abella, the nation will look up to their scholars–now newly minted women cadets–as inspiration and role models, who will be expected to perform their public duties to the best of their abilities. “We are proud of their achievements in the Academy and expect the best when they serve our Armed Forces where they would decide, lead, motivate, set example and accomplish the mission to defend the Republic,” he said.

On another note, Abella issued a stern warning against those engaging in corruption, noting the President remains committed to fulfilling his campaign pledge of fighting corruption, illegal drugs and criminality. 

According to the Palace official, anyone who attempts to bribe any government official “should be scared,” as the law will surely come down full force on them.

Joining Abella at Tuesday’s press briefing were Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) chairperson Rhodora Masilang-Bucoy and executive director Emmeline Verzosa.

Verzosa reported that among the worrisome developments today with regard to women are the high maternal mortality ratios and increasing number of teenage pregnancies.

She hailed the government for passing the Reproductive Health Law, as this gives women better access to modern family planning methods so they can plan their pregnancies and space the number of their children.

The increasing number of teenage pregnancies is the result of a high incidence of premarital sex among young adults which studies show rose from 23.2 percent in 2002 to 32 percent in 2013.

Another challenge to the increasing number of teenage pregnancies is the prevalence of violence against women which could run to millions of cases.

“Violence against women and girls happen not only inside their homes but also in schools, workplaces, streets, public transportation systems and media,” Verzosa said.###PND

President Duterte leads DA vital agricultural programs

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, March 7, graced several events of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Malacañan.

The President witnessed the signing of the Philippine Cacao and Coffee Industry Roadmaps, which will serve as guides for all industry stakeholders towards optimal realization of the targets set for 2017 to 2022.

The roadmaps are vital instruments to provide direction to the concerned stakeholders towards sustainable and globally competitive Philippine cacao and coffee industries, which are seen to contribute in achieving food security and poverty alleviation.

The President also witnessed the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Philippine Rubber Farmers Association (PRFA), Phoenix Petroleum, and DA-Philippine Rubber Research Institute (DA-PRRI) on Cooperation Toward Putting Up Investment for Pilipinas Agila Tyre Factory.

The agreement formalizes the cooperation between PRFA, Phoenix Petroleum and DA-PRRI in attracting the necessary investments for putting up a rubber tyre factory that is targetted to produce four million passenger tyres in a year.

The Chief Executive then led the awarding ceremony of the first Malinis at Masaganang Karagatan, a nationwide search for outstanding coastal communities in the country, which is implemented by the Department of Agriculture through Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

Proclaimed as winners were Cortes, Surigao del Sur as grand winner; Palompon, Leyte as first runner-up; and Calatagan, Batangas as second runner-up.

Meanwhile, during the turnover of the processing and post-harvest facilities for the commercial production of pineapple fibers, the Chief Executive led in the awarding of certificates to farmer beneficiaries of multi-fiber decorticating machine, mechanical dryer, and baling machine.

The recipients of the agricultural machineries were Adventurers Multipurpose Cooperative of Polomolok, South Cotabato, T’boli Farm Growers Multipurpose Cooperative of Tiboli, South Cotabato, Shalom Fiber Growers Association of Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon; Labo Progressive Multipurpose Cooperative of Labo, Camarines Norte; and Maduvika Farmer’s Multipurpose Cooperative of Sta. Ana, Cagayan.

During the event, the Chief Executive received token shoes made from Piñatex or pineapple fiber.

He also led the launching of Farmhelp Mobile Application, which allows users to report all types of concerns to the government.

Duterte also witnessed the presentation of Adaptation and Mitigation Initiative in Agriculture and Launching and Testing of Interactive AMIA and National Color Coded Agricultural Guide Map.

This will allow farmers to identify what type of crops can be planted in a certain area.

During the presentation, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the map will “make farming easy”, without the unproductive “guessing game.”###PND

President Duterte to study EO on smoking ban
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said he needs more time to study the proposed executive order banning smoking nationwide as he eyes to reach a compromise on the designated smoking areas.

The President said that he is still weighing expected resistance to the initiative and possible areas for compromise, citing as an example ‎designated smoking areas inside a building.

In a media interview on Tuesday, March 7, at the Rizal Hall of the Malacañan Palace, the President explained that, “there are a lot of dynamics there. So just give me enough time to study.” The Chief Executive said he was supposed to sign this week the draft executive order submitted by Health Secretary Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial, who was pushing for the approval of the order.

“I have to be very careful in trying to navigate the way how I can present it to the public,” the President said, noting that the smoking ban in Davao is a different case. “For example, I’d need the pronouncements, not really the opinion, the pronouncements of our medical sector and they should be also in the forefront of this because they know the benefits of totally banning smoking inside..,” he said.

In the same interview, the President said he had ordered the arrest of the owner of Mighty Corporation who used fake cigarette stamps.

He also confirmed the appointment of former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Ricardo Visaya as the new head of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).

Meanwhile, Duterte said he wants to “strike a happy compromise” between the government and mining industry with a view to “protecting the public interest.”

He also appealed to lawmakers to allow Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, whose confirmation is pending at the Commission on Appointments, to present her case.

“If you’d listen to Gina present her case… but you have to concede something to (her). Talagang nagtatrabaho, and she has pointed out the so many factors that would eventually affect the environment of Mindanao,” he said.

“We cannot be allowing diggings forever in the every nook and corner of the mountain ranges. It would spell disaster,” he warned.

The President also announced that he had met with Zhong Shan, the Minister of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, “who brought with him a windfall.”

“He just brought in… one billion dollars, agri products, they’re coming next month and they have scheduled something like 10 billion for the present — o ‘yung ano, 10 billion dollars all-in-all, hopefully coming our way,” he said. The Chinese government, the President said, has also allotted one million dollars for the rehabilitation of Surigao, which was hit by a 6.7-magnitude earthquake last month.

On another note, the President asked local government officials to timely and effectively use the powers of the local government to restore order in their respective areas.

“In some areas in Mindanao, there’s a near-anarchy in the sense that they just throw grenades there at houses and whatever… So may I just plead to you, for those local officials who are in governance, kindly make use of the powers of government to restore order,” he said.###PND