OFWs, journalists join ‘press freedom’ caravan in HK

MANILA Around 100 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Hong Kong have expressed their support and trust in the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte during the two-day press freedom caravan organized by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

The OFWs participated in the PCOO-Freedom of Information event on April 28-29, 2019.

Antonio Morales, Philippines Consul General in Hong Kong, said the high number of foot traffic indicates success.

"[Nothing that] they were [just] representatives of the various organizations here. This is proof of the great interest of our kababayans to know what is really happening in our country especially under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte," Morales said in an interview.

The caravan was the third leg of a series of events in Thailand and Europe.

A total of 20 members of the media attended the second day of the gathering where the real state of press freedom in the country was discussed.

PCOO officials said even as President Duterte had already laid out several measures to promote transparency and media security, they still want to be three steps ahead of the game.

"PCOO still sees a lot of opportunities to raise the awareness of the international media on the programs and policies of our present administration, especially towards greater transparency and accountability and having a well-informed citizenry," Communications Undersecretary George Apacible said in a separate statement.

Apacible also said the caravan sought to encourage OFWs to get more involved and be more informed on the government's programs and accomplishments.

Assistant Secretary Kristian Ablan, the Freedom of Information (FOI) Program Director, noted that President Duterte immediately established the FOI by issuing an executive order barely a month after assuming office.

Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, also the Executive Director of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, said the President was the first head of state to create a task force to protect members of the media and look into cases of media killings in the Philippines.

The PCOO, through the Office of the Global Media Affairs (OGMA), also engaged journalists in Hong Kong during the two-day forum.

OGMA Chief JV Arcena highlighted the PCOO's efforts to have a direct channel for the international media to access information from the Philippine government.

"We create engagements for our government policymakers overseas and to connect our policymakers with the international media and regional media, and to promote our policy messages through engagements with foreign audiences," Arcena said.

"We also support the achievement of all our government policy goals and objectives, not only the foreign policy but also our domestic policy goals, and to advance our national interest by informing and working with the media," he added.

The OGMA is created to respond to emerging crises, stay ahead of the news cycle, and ensure that the Philippines has a voice in international conversation directly connected to domestic and foreign policy efforts. (PCOO with Cristine Cudis/PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency