The Presidential Communication Office (PCO) is now ready to implement the Marcos administration’s Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Project following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with partner government agencies on Monday.
Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil led the PCO in the ceremonial signing of the MOU with the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Pasay City.
“We are not merely embarking on a mission; we are empowering a collective endeavor to exemplify the power of a whole-of-nation approach, and indeed, a whole-of-society commitment,” Secretary Velicaria-Garafil said.
The PCO chief added that the launch is a unified effort by the Marcos administration and the members of the digital media industry against misinformation and disinformation.
New technologies, online news and social media have made access to information easy, she said, underscoring the ability of false narratives and fake news to mislead, divide, and even cause harm or damage.
“Our responsibility, then, is clear—to arm our citizens with the tools to discern truth from falsehood,” according to the PCO chief.
“Sisimulan po natin ito sa ating mga kabataan dahil sila ang pinaka exposed sa digital landscape at sa mga panganib nito. Sa pamamagitan ng Media and Information Literacy Campaign, bibigyan natin sila ng mga kasangkapan upang kritikal na makapagsuri at makapagvalidate ng mga pinagmulan ng mga impormasyon, at malaman ang pinagkaiba ng mga mapanlinlang na kasinungalingan mula sa katotohanan.”
From schools, the campaign will be brought to communities through dialogues with local leaders, civil servants, and ordinary citizens to enable the people to navigate the digital world with discernment and responsibility, she said.
Velicaria-Garafil said the government and its partners hope to raise a society of “synthesizers,” or those “who are able to use the right information at the right time for the right purpose to make the right choices.”
“As we march forward, we envision a future that protects the fundamental rights of everyone. We therefore commit to tailoring today’s efforts to address the needs of those who consistently face the exploits of fake news— women, children, the elderly, and those without easy access to technology.”
By collaborating with the DepEd, CHED, DILG, and the DSWD, PCO Secretary Velicaria-Garafil hopes for a successful campaign against misinformation and fake news.
The MOU will implement the MIL, which is the administration’s response to the disinformation and misinformation plaguing the country’s digital landscape, focusing on capacitating the youth to become more discerning consumers of media.
The agencies will collaborate with the PCO on a comprehensive execution plan crafted to target the identified root causes of the issue. The MIL will be integrated into the higher education curriculum, community-based training, and family-oriented programs.
Social media companies such as Google (YouTube), Meta (Facebook, Instagram, and Threads), TikTok, and X (formerly Twitter) will collaborate with the government by lending the tools and training to fight disinformation and misinformation.
For its part, TikTok said PCO’s MIL program resonates with its efforts to enhance Filipinos’ digital literacy as it welcomed the collaboration to foster more informed and empowered netizens.
“The Media and Information Literacy Campaign is a cause that resonates with TikTok’s efforts to enhance digital literacy among Filipinos. We will continue to equip users with the skills to navigate the digital world confidently and welcome this industry collaboration to foster a more informed and empowered Filipino community,” it said.
Global Government Affairs, Asia and the Pacific of X Monrawee Ampolpittayanant reaffirmed their commitment to providing a safe, inclusive, entertaining, and informative experience for their Filipino users while maintaining free speech.
Ampolpittayanant added they will continue to expand their “Community Notes” features that combat misinformation and disinformation on their platforms.
“Free expression is fundamental to a healthy functioning global society. X is committed to maintaining free speech where people are free to be their true selves while providing a safe, inclusive, entertaining, and informative experience for everyone, including in the Philippines,” Ampolpittayanant said.
“We will continue to expand the availability of the Community Notes feature, one of the world’s most innovative and inclusive ways that aim to create a better-informed world by empowering people to collaboratively add context to potentially misleading posts in an open and transparent process,” he added.
Google vowed to continue to deepen its digital responsibility efforts which include removing harmful and misleading content across its platforms and collaborating with various stakeholders across society to connect netizens to timely and accurate information.
“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Core to this mission is providing trustworthy content and opportunities for free expression across our platforms while addressing misinformation,” Google Philippines’ head for Government Affairs and Public Policy, Yves Gonzalez, said.
“We will continue to deepen our digital responsibility efforts by taking down harmful and misleading content, raising authoritative information on Search and YouTube, providing grants, launching fact-checking tools, and partnering with other organizations. Fighting misinformation is an ecosystem initiative and we are committed to work closely with others to help people access timely and accurate information,” he added.
Meta, for its part, said, “Nothing is more important to us than keeping people safe online.”
“Our flagship digital literacy program, Digital Tayo, has been helping Filipinos to think critically and share thoughtfully online. We will continue to collaborate with the government, civil society organizations, experts, and our community to help empower Filipinos with the necessary skills, resources, and information to help identify and combat misinformation,” said Clare Amador, Meta’s Country Head of Public Policy for Philippines and Thailand.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. witnessed the ceremonial signing of the MOU and the launching of the MIL program on Monday afternoon. PND