MANILA — The administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will be implementing a digital media literacy campaign to battle disinformation, Malacañang said Friday.
Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Undersecretary Cherbett Karen Maralit said at a United Nations (UN) event in New York that the Marcos Jr. administration's anti-disinformation campaign would equip Filipinos from vulnerable communities with knowledge and tools "to be discerning of the truth."
Maralit said Congress had tasked the PCO to "address the growing concern on misinformation and disinformation, especially in the digital landscape."
“Backed by the budgetary support from the Philippine Congress and its confidence in the leadership of the PCO, we took the opportunity to develop mechanisms through which we can bring the online experiences of females of all ages into focus,” she said.
Maralit was part of a side event on safe online spaces held during the 67th Sessions of the UN Commission on the Status of Women
In her remarks, the PCO official also noted that “crucially, in this age of plenteous and insistent information, the rights of women and girls continue to be undermined by disinformation and misinformation.”
“The PCO, therefore, is positioning itself as a pillar that upholds the rights and welfare of women and girls through a Digital Media Literacy Campaign that will focus on our most vulnerable communities,” Maralit said.
She added the campaign would take a "context-based and factual grassroots approach" to enable communities to be sift through disinformation on social media.
The campaign would also involve an active collaboration between PCO and the private sector, including stakeholders in the broadcast industry, to establish "effective mechanisms" against fake news.
“We will work to improve the citizenry’s ability to think critically and analyze information. The first step towards this end is identifying reliable and credible sources of information,” Maralit said.
During the 2022 elections, Marcos Jr.'s presidential campaign was criticized for allegedly employing disinformation to revamp his family name, particularly by whitewashing the martial rule of his father and namesake, late former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
At the time, scholars pointed out misleading posts promoting Marcos Sr.'s regime, supposedly distorting historical accounts.
As Marcos Jr. became the frontrunner in the May 2022 polls, Agence France-Presse reported that many pro-Marcos misinformation targets were targeting his then main rival, former Vice President Leni Robredo.
Marcos Jr. had denied the allegations.
"Iyong kredibilidad ko ang pagagandahin ko kasi unang-una, wala kayong naririnig na fake news (mula) sa akin. Ang dami sinisi sa amin, pinapalitan namin ang kasaysayan. Tingnan niyo kasi kung saan nangyari iyon. Wala naman kami na sinasabi na ganoon," said Marcos Jr., then a presidential candidate, during a March 2022 town hall in Marikina City.
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