Palace objects to Rappler, Vera Files as FB fact-checkers
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said Facebook's move to partner with the two local media entities was the social media giant's own "solution" to counter the spread of false information.
He lamented that the "chosen police of the truth," referring to Rappler and Vera Files, were "sometimes partisan themselves."
"There are those who are complaining that the chosen police of the truth, so to speak, are sometimes partisan themselves. And of course, this is the problem with truth that can be subjective, depending on your political perspective," he told a press conference.
"And that is why I commiserate with those who object to the selection of Rappler and VERA files because we know where they stand in the political spectrum," he added.
Facebook announced on April 12 its partnership with Rappler and Vera Files to fact-check content sharing sites to prevent false news from spreading on the popular social media page.
Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, in a separate statement, said the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) would raise its objection to the choice of fact-checkers by Facebook when it has the chance to meet the social media giant's executives "soon."
"Efforts are underway for both the PCOO and Facebook to sit across the table and discuss and hopefully, reach agreements that will get us closer to our shared goal of responsible and intelligent use of social media," Badoy said.
"And we give our allout support to them in their efforts to combat the creation and spread of false news that have poisoned our shared space and dumbed down, if not encouraged, vicious discourse in our online community— and that has served no one in any good way," she added.
The social media giant has already begun the implementation of stiffer measures against fake news by blocking several websites that are believed to be peddling fake articles that are in favor of the Duterte administration.
Some websites that purportedly share false information and have so far been banned from being shared on Facebook's news feed were Duterte News Today and Duterte News Info, among others.
The latest move came following Facebook's recent admission that personal information of 1.175 million Filipino users may have been improperly shared with controversial British consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica.
The National Privacy Commission has announced its plan to launch an investigation into the reported massive breach of millions of Filipinos' Facebook accounts to look into the possible violations of improper sharing of personal data of affected users in the Philippines.
Following the alleged hacking of personal information of Facebook users, Roque was not discounting the possibility that some Filipinos might consider using alternative social media site.
"The possibility of shifting is always there. Of course, there's a worldwide movement to delete Facebook not just because of their moves in the Philippines but because also of privacy concerns," he said. KUWAIT -- The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is repatriating a batch of 200 undocumented Filipinos, including 18 infants below two years old, on Monday (April 16, 2018) under the amnesty program granted by the Kuwaiti government for Filipinos.
In an interview here at the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait, DFA Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola said this number adds to the total repatriated of 4,164 Filipinos as of April 14.
The amnesty is set to expire April 22, leaving at least 5,000 more undocumented Filipinos who has yet registered for the program at risk of crackdown. Citing the data from Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior, DFA said there are more than 10,000 overstaying and runaway Filipinos in the Gulf state.
"We're really hoping na may mga humabol pa, kasi sa tingin ko, before 22 makakapag-uwi tayo ng a little less than 5,000 Filipinos [We're really hoping there would be more that would avail of the program, and before the 22nd, we can bring home a little less than 5,000 Filipinos] ," Arriola said.
Although the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait gave a deadline on April 12 for registration, Arriola said no Filipinos, until April 22, will be denied from amnesty application.
"Gagawa't gagawa kami ng paraan para maihabol yung exit nila [we will do our best to beat the deadline] before April 22, kasi [because] after that, crackdown na, manghuhuli na, ikukulong na, then total ban na sila rito sa Kuwait at may fine pa iyon [they would be imprisoned and fined]," she added.
The official said all who registered for repatriation will receive a PHP5,000 cash from the DFA in Manila. This, in addition to the labor department's cash assistance and the livelihood package they can apply for.
"Just to give you a rough idea, more than 1/3 of our operations sa DFA is going to Kuwait," she said when asked how much of the Assistance to Nationals (ATN) fund has already been disbursed in Kuwait repatriations. She continued: "Sabi naman ni President Rodrigo Duterte, gamitin niyo whatever you have, so lahat ng resources natin, halos lahat, nakatutok dito [The President instructed us to use whatever we have so our resources are poured here]."
Among others, Arriola assured that government agencies are in close coordination to direct other Filipinos in labor markets being opened in other countries.
"We are also doing the best we can to see other places like China, Czech Republic para makapag-apply rin sila [so they can apply]," Arriola said.
From January 29, the start of the amnesty program, Arriola said more than 5,000 OFWs registered. Of this figure, around 560 registered on April 12, with still more expected to apply this week.
"Tinulungan din namin ang ating mga kapatid sa Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) Kuwait na mag-uwi ng mga kapatid natin sa shelter kasi ang goal ay to bring everyone home [We are also helping POLO Kuwait to bring home our fellow Filipinos in the shelter because the goal is to bring everyone home.]," Arriola said.
MFacebook's ALACAÑANG on Monday, April 16, opposed decision to tap news outlets Rappler and Vera Files for a third-party factchecking program in an effort to stamp out the proliferation of fake news among Filipino users of the social media platform.