The Marcos administration is relying on media literacy to combat misinformation and disinformation and called for strong public support through collaboration with various stakeholders and the private sector.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. joined the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in officially launching the Media Information Literacy (MIL) Project in a ceremony in Pasay City on Monday.
During the event, Communications Undersecretary Emerald Ridao said that the MIL launching will complement the existing mechanisms with a more stringent approach to combat misinformation and disinformation.
“Through education, we can empower individuals to think critically, to discern between reliable and dubious sources,” Ridao said.
“Beyond that, this campaign aims to nurture a culture of critical thinking, curiosity, and responsible engagement. By working hand in hand with educational institutions, government bodies, and our private sector partners, we aim to equip every citizen, starting with the youth, with the skills needed to navigate the complex web of media and information.”
The PCO official urged the attendees to recognize the power they hold in shaping this narrative in whatever field they are engaged in such as education, policy making, and technology.
“Let’s approach this campaign with a collective stance of responsibility and enthusiasm. Let us commit ourselves to the cause of media literacy. And let us lay the foundation for a society that’s resilient against the tide of misinformation and disinformation. One that thrives under principles of truth, understanding, and well-informed decision-making,” she said.
Speaking on behalf of Social Welfare Secretary Rex Gatchalian, Undersecretary Edu Punay said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) also committed to take further steps in promoting the Marcos administration’s MIL campaign.
“Having witnessed the evils of fake news, we need to stand together and carry the torch of truth that will guide us as a nation into the path of a better tomorrow,” Punay said. “Sa amin po sa DSWD bawat buhay ay mahalaga patungo sa isang Bagong Pilipinas.”
Having worked in the media industry for 20 years, Punay underscored the importance of fighting fake news and propaganda through a whole-of-nation approach.
He also recounted how the poor and the vulnerable sector fell prey to fake news as hundreds of senior citizens rushed to the DSWD offices last January for a supposed payout for Social Pension that was apparently not scheduled.
“It turned out that the sources were Facebook post of fake DSWD account and the SMS text message that was blasted across the nearby area,” Punay said.
“This showed how misinformation could impact the psyche of our poor beneficiaries, how false hope could cause frustration not to mention the disruption in our everyday operations and the grievances we received in the department.”
Punay expressed the DSWD’s readiness to take on the challenge, and take part in the MIL campaign.
Punay said the DSWD and upon the directive of Secretary Gatchalian, took the initiative to ensure the awareness and literacy of its beneficiaries, including the 22 million Filipino individuals belonging to the 4Ps Program, the 4 million senior citizens under the Social Pension Program, as well as other beneficiaries of its programs.
The DSWD is making sure that they rely on legitimate sources information such as the agency websites and official media accounts, and credible news outfits and other channels such as its monthly face-to-face interaction for 4Ps beneficiaries.
Under the MOU, the PCO shall act as the lead agency for the MIL Project, pursuant to its mandate to serve as the primary office in the Executive Branch to engage and involve the public and mass media in enriching the quality of public discourse in all matters of governance, and its responsibility to craft, formulate, develop, enhance and coordinate the messaging system of the Executive Branch and the Office of the President.
With this, the DepEd shall oversee the crafting of the nationwide survey’s framework and questions, recommend participants in the Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) among MIL practitioners, take part in the development of educator’s and learner’s MIL manual, and incorporate the crafted manual through the MIL Project in the country’s basic educational curriculum.
CHED shall perform similar function in addition to other tasks tto foster coordination and collaboration of concerned parties with state universities and colleges (SUCs).
The DSWD shall incorporate the MIL Project in its social protection programs, provide support to the conduct of trainings related to the Project in targeted communities and assistance in disseminating MIL information materials.
The DILG, on the other hand, shall coordinate with local government units (LGUs) on-the-ground activities with regard to the MIL Project, and collaborate with the Sangguniang Kabataan of each LGU and with the National Youth Commission (NYC) in carrying out the program. PND