MANILA – Giving a positive twist to the series of faux pas of the state-run Philippine News Agency, Secretary Martin Andanar framed the criticisms that have been hurled at the PNA as a consequence of its increasing readership.
“Bakit napapansin ang kapalpakan, kasi po binabasa na ang PNA ngayon [Why are the fumbles more noticed now? Because the PNA is now being read],” Andanar, head of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), told lawmakers during Tuesday’s briefing of the budget of the office.
The PCOO, which supervises the PNA, has proposed a budget of P1.3 billion for its operations in 2018. Its mandate, according to its website, is “to serve as the premier arm of the Executive Branch in engaging and involving the citizenry and the mass media in order to enrich the quality of public discourse on all matters of governance and build a national consensus thereon.”
The most recent blunder of the PNA was an August 11 story that used the logo of food firm Dole Philippines instead of that of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for a story about the latter’s pay rules for the 2018 holidays.
The government’s news agency also drew flak for posting the China government-run Xinhua News Agency’s opinion piece against the arbitration ruling on the West Philippine Sea and a story titled “95 nations in 3rd UPR convinced no EJKs in PHL” as well as for using a Vietnam War photo with a story on the armed conflict in Marawi City.
The Xinhua piece described the July 2016 UN court’s finding that favored Manila in its case againsty Beijing over the South China Sea as an “ill-founded award.”
Andanar said the writers and editors of the PNA will undergo retraining to prevent a repeat of their blunders. He said that the editors responsible for the posting of the Dole logo were also asked to explain. Employees who would commit errors in the future would face sanctions, he said.
“Nakakahiya man po, pero [All this has been embarrassing but] we are doing our best. We formed an editorial board, which will be the last gatekeeper of stories,” he said.