MANILA—Malacañang on Saturday said it was wondering why most Filipinos think it's "dangerous" to publish materials critical of the government.
Results of a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released on Saturday found that 51 percent of Filipinos agreed that printing or broadcasting anything against the administration is "dangerous . . . even if it is the truth."
"We are curious as to why this could be so," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
"The President respects criticisms as long as the same is not baseless, unfounded or false. He even urges the people, including writers and reporters, to freely express whatever sentiments they have."
According to Panelo, dissent against President Rodrigo Duterte and his policies "is loud and not curtailed."
"There is no such prior restraint or subsequent punishment for those who practice the freedom to dissent in the Duterte presidency," Panelo said.
"As long as the speech or expression is within the ambit of the constitutional guarantees, it will not face any government interference."
'VIBRANT AND ROBUST'
Meanwhile, Panelo welcomed the result of a survey saying that nearly 3 out of 5 Filipinos believe that they can speak "openly and without fear" even if it is against government.
"The survey results once again are a repudiation of the vociferous and unrelenting tirade of the critics and detractors of the President, as well as the opposition, that the freedoms of speech and of expression are being curtailed by the Administration," he said.
The survey result, Panelo said, meant that freedom of expression in the country remains "vibrant and robust."