IN A bid to boost its presence on social media sans the “fake news,” the government is marking President Rodrigo Duterte’s first year in office by launching #Change365 to highlight his accomplishments.
#Change365 was unveiled on Wednesday, a month before the President delivers his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July.
Asked how different this would be from the President’s SONA, Secretary Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) said in a forum in Manila: “#Change365days is plain narrative of accomplishments of the administration while SONA is still being crafted because we are still collecting data from government agencies. We want to know if they accomplished the promised outputs based on the first SONA of the President last year. We want to check and we want to present their current projects and future projects vis-a-vis the Build, Build, Build program of the President.”
Andanar said that while the SONA would focus on the accomplishments and future programs of the President, #Change365 would center only on his accomplishments.
He enumerated some of the contents of the #Change365 campaign, namely the war against “hard drugs” that resulted in the surrender of a million users, the seizure of billions of pesos worth of drugs, and the discovery of shabu laboratories.
“In fact, the price of shabu went up, a proof that the supply has decreased tremendously,” he said.
Asked what he meant by hard drugs, Andanar said the government was referring to shabu and cocaine, illegal drugs that cost more than marijuana.
“International media make the distinction between hard drugs and other illegal drugs that in their areas are allowed, like marijuana. So, we also make the distinction,” he explained.
Another accomplishment is the P35 billion in infrastructure projects provided by soft loans from Japan, Middle East, China, and other countries.
He also cited peace negotiations with Moro and communist rebels under Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd.
Andanar boasted of his pet project, the Freedom of Information executive order aimed at ensuring transparency in government dealings.
The former broadcaster said #Change365 would be posted on government-run PTV-4, dzRB, the Philippine News Agency (PNA), the PCOO website, and Radio-TV Malacañang, among others.
He noted that “when we came in, the PNA website, which was started in 1993, has no social media. From a mere 3,000 followers during the past administration, now we have 1.3 million viewers.”
At the same time, Andanar guaranteed that government websites would be free of so-called “fake news.”
He brushed aside moves to criminalize fake news, saying freedom of the press is guaranteed by the 1987 Constitution.
“First let us define what we mean by news. News come from news organizations. They are [legitimate]and properly recognized by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Fake news are not produced by these legal entities,” he said.