PCOO aims for widespread youth vigilance vs. disinformation

MANILA As the country's future, the youth in the long run are expected to gain extensive knowledge and vigilance against disinformation, with the Presidential Communications Operations Office's (PCOO) continuous "Dismantle Disinformation" campaign, Secretary Martin Andanar said Wednesday.

The national government's campaign launched in 2017 seeks to stop the spread of false information, usually posted in social media pages with the intent to mislead.

Aside from the latest caravan at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela (PLV) on Wednesday, where at least 500 students participated, PCOO has already visited 22 provinces since last year.

At a press conference before the "Dismantle Disinformation" forum at PLV, Andanar expressed hope that student audiences will also encourage their fellow youth to advocate responsible information sharing.

"Iyon talaga ang objective nito, na mahikayat natin ang kabataan sa buong Pilipinas na maging responsable sa pag-share ng mga balita at ng mga impormasyon na kanilang nababasa sa social media," he said.

(That is really our goal, to encourage youth all over the Philippines to be responsible when sharing the news and information that they read in social media.)

"It's our civic responsibility as students na hindi tayo magkakalat ng maling impormasyon, it is our civic responsibility to share and to inform what is truthful, kung ano lang yung tama," he then addressed the audience.

(It's our civic responsibility as students that we don't take part in spreading wrong information, it is our civic responsibility to share and to inform what is truthful, only what is accurate.)

At the Senate, several lawmakers seek ways to hold accountable those who spread false information. Senator Joel Villanueva, in particular, filed a bill that seeks to penalize persons who maliciously offer, publish, distribute, circulate, and spread false news.

"What will happen to the source of disinformation, that's also the question of the many," said Andanar. "We had a Senate hearing on fake news, there's also a bill submitted by Senator Villanueva, which has yet to move forward."

With legal measures on the issue still out of the picture, Andanar said some ways to fight disinformation for the meantime is vigilance and skills to discern an accurate news from a false one.

"Bukod doon sa nagkakalat ng disinformation sa isyu na itong fake news, mayroon din tayong pinangangalagaang karapatan sa Saligang Batasfreedom of expression, freedom of speech, at para sa media freedom of the press. Ang importante rito, we find a common groundna hindi natin vina-violate yung mga karapatan na iyon pero at the same time napipigilan natin ang pagkalat ng disinformation."

(Aside from the issue of the spread of disinformation, we are also protecting rights under the Constitutionthe freedom of expression, freedom of speech, and for the media, the freedom of the press. Now what is important here is we find a common ground that we don't violate those rights but at the same time we stop the circulation of disinformation.) (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency