MANILA (UPDATED/CORRECTED) - From uniting a huge online community of Duterte supporters, “Thinking Pinoy” and other like-minded bloggers may soon be covering Palace events.
In a February 7 press release, Malacanang said President Rodrigo Duterte approved Thinking Pinoy community page founder Rey Joseph Nieto's request for access to cover Palace events, during a meeting on Tuesday.
"The President had given his go signal and had already relayed the request to Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella," according to a Malacanang statement quoting Nieto.
Malacanang said Nieto suggested that the president create a "special documenting team who could follow him and record his daily activities, and compile it artistically so that it would serve as a guide for the future Filipinos to exemplify on what a true leader should be."
Aside from Nieto, the meet-and-greet included like-minded social media personalities such as Dr. Lorraine Badoy, and Sass Sasot.
According to a post by Badoy on social networking site Facebook, they were surprised to be given a warm reception by the president, which was “real and authentic.” Duterte showed them around his home, and asked them to stay for dinner after they peppered him with questions, she said.
Sasot, meanwhile, wrote that she was glad to be able to talk to Duterte about public school teachers’ concerns, as well as possible improvements to services rendered by Philippine embassies abroad to overseas Filipinos.
After their Malacanang visit, Nieto and Sasot brought groceries to “Duterte’s Kitchen,” a small establishment in Cubao run by Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), which serves free food to street children.
(Editor's note: Our initial story erroneously reported that Thinking Pinoy community page founder Rey Joseph Nieto had requested to join the Malacanang Press Corps and that he got the approval.
According to Mr. Nieto, he did not ask to join the Malacanang Press Corps organization, but only access to cover President Rodrigo Duterte and other Palace events.
We regret the error.)
The full Palace release follows:
MALACANANG PRESS RELEASE
Meet and Greet with Dr. Lorraine Badoy, Ms. Sass Sasot and Thinking Pinoy 2/7/2017
Music Room, Malacañan Palace
February 7, 2017
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte welcomed several of his social media staunch supporters and bloggers led by Dr. Lorraine Badoy, Ms. Sass Sasot, and Mr. Rey Joseph Nieto of Thinking Pinoy, at the Music Room in Malacañan Palace.
Several issues were raised by the group in meeting the President. Ms. Sasot, who is an LGBT rights advocate and blogger, raised several issues including the concerns of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and professionals who are burdened with the Professional Regulation Commission's (PRC) Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Program.
According to her, teachers abroad are forced to take seminar classes to earn their CPD units in order to have their professional licenses renewed, and this can be costly. She also aired the sentiments of other OFWs who had to take leave from work only to visit the Philippine Embassy. She hopes for Philippine Embassies in all parts of the world to extend their service window even on weekends.
Moreover, Thinking Pinoy founder Rey Joseph Nieto suggested for the President to have a special documenting team who could follow him and record his daily activities, and compile it artistically so that it would serve as a guide for the future Filipinos to exemplify on what a true leader should be, especially in choosing the next future leaders of the country. President Duterte said he would think about it.
He also asked if Thinking Pinoy could join the Malacañang Press Corps (MPC) in covering the Malacañang news beats for social media. According to him, the President had given his go signal and had already relayed the request to Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella.
Meanwhile, the group expressed their enthusiasm in meeting the President for the first time. The group was also treated to a dinner at the President's Hall before leaving the Palace.