Incoming PCOO secretary 'pushing for' accreditation of bloggers in Malacanang

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 01 2022 11:50 AM | Updated as of Jun 01 2022 09:42 PM

Presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos Jr. visits Guiguinto, Bulacan as part of the campaign trail on March 8, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos Jr. visits Guiguinto, Bulacan as part of the campaign trail on March 8, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (3rd UPDATE) — President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr's press secretary-designate on Wednesday said they were working on the accreditation of bloggers in Malacañang, adding that this is among their priorities. 

"We are pushing for the accreditation of bloggers to be invited to some of the briefings especially those conducted by the President," Trixie Cruz-Angeles, a pro-administration blogger, said in a public briefing.

"'Yun pa lang po, 'yun ang isa sa aming na-formulate na priority for the incoming [Presidential Communications Operations Office]," she added.

(That is one priority we formulated for the incoming PCOO.) 
 

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Bloggers played a huge role during Marcos Jr's presidential campaign, with some given priority access during UniTeam sorties. 

Access to Malacañang coverage or Palace events was traditionally limited to journalists from TV and radio networks, online news outfits, and newspapers. But PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar in 2017 allowed the accreditation of select social media users through a department order. 

The policy permits social media practitioners 18 years old and above with at least 5,000 online followers to cover Palace events.

"Existing pa yung policy (the policy is still existing)" Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Kris Ablan told reporters. 

The Malacañang Press Corps (MPC), the group of journalists accredited to cover the president, said it would wait for further developments before it could comment on the matter.

"The [MPC] will defer comment on the matter until the details of the proposed policy are threshed out by the incoming PCOO leadership," it said in a statement.

Asked if the incoming administration would allow all journalists to cover Marcos' events in person, Cruz-Angeles said they would "look at existing policies first." 

"We have to wait and see, pending the review of all existing policies," she said. 

A Rappler reporter in 2018 was banned from the entire Palace complex. The online news outfit has been publishing reports critical of the administration. 

PCOO TO LOOK AT 'DISINFORMATION' ISSUES

Cruz-Angeles, who has advocated for debate and "discourse" on historical events, is expected to lead the primary communications unit of the Office of the President in the next six years. 

She said her team coordinated with Andanar for the agency's transition, and their initial plans included "an assessment on pending projects" to see if these should be prioritized.

There is no decision yet on which projects will stay or go, Cruz-Angeles said. 

"We are also looking at opening discourse and looking at issues of disinformation that seems to be a hot button or topic nowadays. There are no final plans yet for any particular projects," she said.

"Just that these issues are some of the things we are looking at to consider when prioritizing projects for the PCOO."

An analysis by Agence France-Presse showed that "since the beginning of 2021, Marcos Jr. has been the biggest beneficiary of misinformation that has portrayed his family in a favorable light."

A separate review of election-related videos on YouTube, meanwhile, showed that several vloggers and content creators produced videos to praise Marcos Jr and his family, criticize his rivals, or sow discord between other tandems. 

In February, a fact-checking group said outgoing Vice President Leni Robredo was the top target of online disinformation and that many posts benefitted Marcos. Robredo lost to Marcos in the May 9 polls.

The President-elect denied using troll farms for his campaign and dared his critics to "find me one."