Carandang halts tweeting, reviews social media policy

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 01 2010 01:32 PM | Updated as of Nov 01 2010 09:36 PM

Vietnam unruffled by Aquino speechwriter's tweets?

MANILA, Philippines - The Vietnamese government seems unruffled by the controversial tweets of President Aquino’s speechwriter during his state visit and participation in the 17th ASEAN Summit in their country.

Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang said the Vietnamese authorities did not bring it up.

“I asked the Ambassador to Vietnam [Jerril Santos] if they had mentioned it. They didn't….We met with the Secretary-General of the Communist Party (of Vietnam) this morning before we left. He didn't bring it up. Nobody brought it up.  The Vietnamese government has not brought it up or mentioned it so I think it's a closed book now.  Hindi sila humingi, hindi nila binring up, so I think nag-apologize siya sa kanyang FB [Facebook] account so that's it. Sinara  na rin niya ang Twitter account niya  so I think that's the resolution of that. …obviously we have to be more careful about these things. Is there any other question?“

Carandang, for his part, has stopped his staff from tweeting as he reviews their social media policy.

“I haven't formally reviewed it. I just told them, I don't want anyone tweeting for the next couple of days while I figure out what to do. I don't want them tweeting for now until I figure out what the rules are. I said Twitter. Maybe we'll do the FB [Facebook] as well,” he said.

Carandang, who used to be a journalist for ABS-CBN, said he is looking at social media guidelines for government  that will be more stringent than the social media policies of private media.

“I haven't really thought about the specifics of it. When I was in my old job, we had policies for social networking. And that's the general way that I was looking at it. Pero iba ang private media sa government. So, I think mas mahigpit yung sa government kaysa sa private media. Yung guidelines when I was in my old job were a little looser, and I think there's a need for stricter guidelines especially since this is government, it's not private sector,” he said.

Aquino speechwriter Carmen Mislang got into hot water over her tweets, drawing the ire of her immediate boss Carandang and prompting an apology to her principal, the President. 

“I got mad at her, I reprimanded her. That's it. It's only an issue here among certain people. The Vietnamese didn't even bring it up. It was not an issue.. There was a translation. They were being the gracious host. It was  mistake, she admitted it, she's been reprimanded. “

Carandang said Mislang may face disciplinary actions.

“We're still thinking about that, but right now, it's resulted in a change in the entire guidelines for social networking. We've always encouraged people in the office to actively use social networking. And now, I think maybe now we need to make sure that there are more firm guidelines," he said.

"It's like this: we try to strike a balance in our social media operations. It's supposed to be less formal, less official. But obviously, it went too far in some cases so we have to be able to...if they can't make the judgement  themselves, we have to make the judgement for them.”

Mislang has since stopped tweeting on her own but did not offer to resign. “Sinulatan niya si Presidente. Para ikuwento at mag-sorry," Carandang said.

Meanwhile, a Palace official on Monday urged the public to move on from the twitter controversy involving the President’s speechwriter.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte noted that Mislang has already apologized for her tweets and made amends.

“It wasn’t even an  issue in Vietnam beyond that it should not be an issue at all. That should be all there is to it at this point,” she said.