Category Archives: information

Sunday ∗ 13 Aug 2017

Andanar’s PNA train wreck

This is all very simple, really. The Philippine News Agency (PNA) has made enough mistakes, has been in the news often enough for being nothing more than a laughable excuse for a newswire service, and ultimately responsibility falls on Communications Secretary Martin Andanar. After all, I have personally heard him talking about how much he idolizes China’s Xin Hua News Agency, and how he would like to emulate its technology, its offices across the world, its professionalism. The fundamental problem with this of… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 11 Aug 2017

#Andanar’s learning curve, social media user accreditation, #PCOO’s downward spiral

It seems the learning curve is steep for Martin Andanar — and everyone else on the Duterte communications team. A year in, and this week’s mistakes and mishaps can only be symptoms of the bigger crisis that is Presidential and government communications. We are also reminded (yet again!) that we are wasting public funds on the salaries of officials who have no idea what they’re doing. After a year, instead of actually evolving in his knowledge of social media, Andanar is still stuck on his simpleton… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 28 Jul 2017

Writing, criticism, hope

In the five years that I’ve been doing this column, and the nine years of writing independently full-time, the most fulfilling parts of it have been about being able to talk to students who wonder about writing. Often the questions revolve around notions of fear, which automatically go to the presumption of courage: that it is brave to write about things that others wouldn’t write about, or to have a contrary opinion from what dominates the discourse. Yet it would… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 25 Jul 2017

Everything I needed to learn about writing, I learned through blogging

And I mean old school blogging via this blog, which first went up in 2008, a gift from my Kuya who had also pushed the mother to start blogging two years earlier. At the time there was an active blogging scene with intellectuals and pundits writing and discussing issues of the day, bouncing off each other, openly debating. Trolling was frowned upon, as was namecalling. Anonymity was put into question. I like to think of that time to have been pre-Joe… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 28 Jun 2017

Truth, fake news, propaganda

It was only a matter of time: after Malacañang watched its followers discredit media on the basis of the superficially discussed notion of “bias,” it then allowed for the proliferation of fake news. Of course when we speak of that now, a year into Duterte’s government, it has become clear that it also means government officials who have so benefited from the manner in which media has been put into question, that they don’t even feel the need to retract… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 27 Jun 2017

A year of anti-information

A year into this President, and after the epic failure that is this Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), I am now beginning to think that contrary to what we would like to believe, maybe what we’ve seen to be a crisis in communications IS the communications strategy. After all, look at Martin Andanar, utterly silent, getting away with releasing badly-written, ill-conceptualized pro-Martial Law videos, being paid for the bad work of all the divisions he is in charge of –… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 06 Jun 2017

Andanar sa PCO: Isang kasaysayan ng kapalpakan (2)

When 2017 started, Martin Andanar was on his seventh month in the Presidential Communications Office (PCO). The Communications secretary wanted to welcome the year with a bang, so he decided to listen to pro-government troll discourse and be afraid of a yahoogroup. You got that right. A yahoogroup. In the year 2017. For what to him was a “national issue” involving the names of Filipinos in America and a staff member of VP Leni’s office, in purported conversation that was not only using a yahoogroup in… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 02 Jun 2017

Andanar sa PCO: Isang kasaysayan ng kapalpakan (1)

Walang paglagyan ang disgusto at galit sa ipinalabas na video ng Presidential Communications Office (PCO) nitong May 31. And then you realize that this is also absolutely no surprise. Under Martin Andanar, I went from being hopeful about the PCO (not once, but twice!), to utterly and absolutely dismayed and disgusted by the lack of vision, intelligence, smarts, and all-around common sense. Early into this government, say August 2016, the policy seemed to be radio silence. I thought it was just Andanar trying… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 01 Jun 2017

The Senate disappoints #MartialLaw

Lost all of Tuesday this week to the Senate. The day started with news of Senate Resolution 388 affirming and supporting Martial Law as declared in all of Mindanao by President Duterte. What we knew was that 15 Senators were signing the resolution, excluding the Senate minority of five people – Bam Aquino, Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, Kiko Pangilinan, and Antonio Trillanes – and Grace Poe and Chiz Escudero whose names weren’t on the released copy of the resolution.   

Monday ∗ 29 May 2017

Out of control

Someone should tell the President to stop talking, and for his communications team to take control. Because the crisis in Marawi has revealed that he is preconditioned, at the worst time, to say the worst things. It doesn’t matter if he’s here to begin with, or he’s arriving from a foreign trip. It doesn’t even matter that he has heard the public outcry against the Martial Law declaration, the fears that have been in the newspapers, on social media, out… Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 20 May 2017

Demeaning human rights

It is clear that while we might laugh at the people behind Presidential Communications, and cannot even begin to imagine what it now becomes given the appointment of un-credentialed, anti-facts Mocha Uson; and while we might scoff at the social media army that are the ka-DDS – Duterte devotees – with an axe to grind against mainstream media, facts, data, and investigative journalism; here we are at a point when a Philippine representative – a Senator at that – can… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 13 Mar 2017

The embarrassment of mines, the fortitude of Gina Lopez

If there’s anything that’s been absolutely fascinating watching the proceedings for the confirmation of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez at the Commission on Appointments, it’s how that long list of oppositors have come together solely to discredit her by misinforming the public and evading culpability for the mining crisis. Mining misinformation Mining companies and their advocates and employees want us to forget things. For two days last week, we watched miners and mining interests falling… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 27 Feb 2017

Tweeting EDSA1986

It came to me on the evening of February 21: why not “live” tweet the events of the EDSA People Power Revolution of 1986 as it happened? How hard could it be, I thought. I remember one year when the now defunct (but quite missed!) communications office of the previous government, which had Manolo Quezon in charge of history, actually sought to “live” tweet EDSA 1986, too. Besides, the original chronology of EDSA’s four days by Angela Stuart-Santiago is online… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 24 Feb 2017

Andanar imagines destabilization, drowns in own false claims

We all know Communications Secretary Martin Andanar is not doing his job. He has no idea what his job entails, what it requires of him, and so he cannot even begin to meet its demands. It was as such no surprise that in the face of claims by former police officer Arthur Lascañas about the role of then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in the Davao Death Squad (DDS) and the spate of killings it was responsible for, Secretary Andanar decided to… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 17 Feb 2017

Zambales mines: A history of questionable practices

Between the pro-mining students protesting at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) officials, and the insistence that we talk only about the jobs to be lost and the stock market crash, it is clear that we are being distracted from the more important questions about whether or not the mining projects the DENR has ordered closed have in fact been bad for the environment and our communities. For some of these mines, there is already enough proof and… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 13 Feb 2017

DENR’s daring, mining’s crisis

I was one of many who thought Gina Lopez was one of President Duterte’s more daring choices as far as picking members of his cabinet was concerned. A staunch environmentalist, she was a welcome decision for Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary, after decades of seeing our natural resources go to waste in the hands of big business, oligarchs, capitalists all in the name of investments and “development” as every government before this one has claimed. I thought:… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 23 Dec 2016

Film, art in a time of change

AFTER a good seven years of doing the arts and culture beat, writing reviews, doing cultural assessments, I have surprised even myself that my interest seems to have dwindled. It’s not that nothing’s going on, as it all just seems secondary to the state of the nation, the urgencies of which cannot be overstated at this point in time. When you don’t have a government that delivers credible information, and no opposition that provides an alternative ideological viewpoint, and all… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 12 Dec 2016

Andanar, VP Leni, De Lima: Taking the public for fools

The aftermath of Vice President Leni Robredo’s resignation from President Duterte’s cabinet has proven to me – yet again! – that the strategy at this point of those in power, and I mean government and its Dutertrolls who believe the President is infallible, as well as the Liberal Party and its Daang Matuwid fanatics who believe the Vice President is santa-incarnate, is really only to make fools of the public. The power struggle is real. And because none of those… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 18 Nov 2016

From misinformation to confusion: Dysfunctional communications

Probably the worst thing about the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) as run by Secretary Martin Andanar is that it has dared ask Congress for a bigger 2017 budget. This, despite the fact that it has no communications plan, no strategy for information dissemination, and on a most basic level, does not even have one working, credible, well-developed official government website, four months in. Instead it’s working off three different Facebook pages – all of which do not cost a single… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 14 Nov 2016

Is silence Andanar’s communications strategy?

Four months in and it is clear that there is nothing in Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar’s plan that is about (1) protecting, defending, helping out President Duterte given his daring, controversial proclamations, and (2) informing the public with important, critical, historical data when it is urgently needed. A major problem is that Andanar believes government does not need an official one-stop portal of a website. He couldn’t be more wrong. Because no matter what he believes about… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 07 Oct 2016

Rein Them In

I used to love being able to say that President Duterte’s followers, at least the ones that I deal with on social media, have been better than Liberal Party loyalists. Those from the latter group who I’ve had the good fortune of engaging with tend to be rabid and angry, and absolutely defensive to the point of blindness. They think when you say “Daang Matuwid peeps” you mean them all, even when you’re obviously pertaining specifically to those who served… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 12 Jun 2016

Dreaming of a People’s TV

There were two dominant reactions to the proposal of a People’s Television in the last column. One was a belief that what was meant was Marcosian Martial Law television. The other was a yawn – it has been said before, planned before, imagined before, and nothing ever came of it. What it is not: Marcosian TV It bears repeating that nowhere in that column about a People’s TV did I assert that it should be similar to or go in… Continue reading »

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