MANILA (UPDATED) - President Rodrigo Duterte has tapped The Manila Times chairman emeritus Dante Ang as his special envoy for international public relations.
A list of presidential appointees Malacañang released Wednesday showed that Ang was appointed on May 3. His appointment was coursed through the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The Manila Times' May 9 report on Ang’s appointment said Ang "will advise the DFA and other relevant government agencies on public relations and the country’s image-building efforts, and assist these agencies in “generating a positive image for the Philippines related to Philippine advocacies and policies.”
Public relations work is not new to Ang, having served as the publicist of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from 1993 to 2003.
Arroyo then appointed Ang as chair of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas in December 2005, staying in the post until the end of her term on June 30, 2010.
Ang’s appointment as Duterte’s international public relations official comes as Duterte continues to receive criticism for his controversial war on drugs.
Human rights groups and several governments particularly in Europe have slammed Duterte for the killings linked to the war on drugs, but the administration said the figures were distorted to put the president in a bad light.
According to Philippine National Police figures, 2,949 drug personalities were killed in anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016, when President Duterte took his post, up to March 31, 2017.
There were, meanwhile, 9,432 other homicide cases recorded within the same period. Of this total, 1,847 were found to be drug-related.
ABS-CBN's independent count meanwhile showed that 1,897 were killed in police operations from May 10, 2016 to May 9 of this year, 1,290 were slain by unidentified assailants, while 220 bodies were dumped away from the crime scene.