PCOO’s Freedom (or lack) of Information draws flak anew

July 26, 2018 - 3:02 PM
File photo of Communications Secretary Martin Andanar

The Freedom of Information website run by the Presidential Communications Operations Office had some recent trouble knowing what to do with missing information.

A complaint posted on Twitter went viral on Tuesday afternoon after it showed screenshots of the website listing the phrases “di ko alam” or “I don’t know” as the fax numbers of two agencies on its directory.

The entries have been removed from the website as of 3:30 p.m on June 24, 2018.

The FOI Twitter account has reached out to the complainant. They have yet to release an official explanation as to what happened.

The FOI website is a project implemented by the PCOO, which has over years drawn flak for errors found on various government offices and agencies.

Just a month prior in June 2018, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian chastised the PCOO for referring to him as “Winston” in a press release.

The other blunder mistakenly referred to the Kingdom of Norway as “Norwegia” in an update about a meeting between outgoing Norwegian ambassador Erik Forner and President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Swedish embassy ribbed the communications agency in a Facebook post during the recently concluded FIFA World Cup.

Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar in August 2017 gave show cause orders to three employees of the state-run Philippine News Agency in relation to the erroneous use of the logo of agricultural company Dole Food Company for a story about the Department of Labor and Employment.

He also gave show cause orders to another three employees in relation to the release of media IDs filled with grammatical errors to Malcañang reporters in March 2018.

The erring employees were not named in both instances.

Reacting to the earlier lapses, PCOO floated the idea in September 2017 that saboteurs caused the series of errors after they detected a mysterious IP address from Pasay City trying to access the dashboard of their content management system.

While the “Winston Gatchalian” and “Norwegia” errors have been attributed to mere typographical lapses, suspicion that a saboteur is acting against the office has returned.

Andanar admitted that he had recently considered sabotage behind the errors but believes the matter is in fact just an “organizational problem” to be fixed.