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Pimentel Renews Call for Senate Probe into Media Killings



Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III renewed his call for the Senate to conduct an investigation in aid of legislation on the spate of media killings in the aftermath of a recent murder against a local radio broadcaster in Bohol.

At the same time, he also called on police authorities to exert extra efforts in arresting the killers of media practitioners “because we cannot allow impunity to reign especially at the expense of press freedom.”

Pimentel, chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, denounced the ambush-slaying of Maurito Lim of Tagbiliran City, saying the savage media attack again blotted the country’s image being among the five most dangerous places for journalists in the world.

The Mindanao senator recently filed a Senate resolution seeking an investigation into the media killings mostly in Mindanao in order to get to the bottom of the worsening cases, the 34th since President Aquino assumed office in 2010.

Pimentel also expressed dismay at the slow resolution of work-related cases, listed by Press watchdogs at 80 journalists murders since 1992, and at the failure of authorities to arrest the murder suspects and their accomplishes.

He noted that the alleged gunmen have either escaped or remained at large and police investigating the murders are usually facing a blank wall because of the refusal of witnesses to cooperate for fear of their own lives.

In the latest World Press Freedom Index, the Philippines improved to 141st from last year’s 149th place among 180 countries, but Pimentel said police inability to resolve pending murder cases and the increase in new media attacks would again pull the country down.

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PCOO Lauded for Holding First Nat’l Info Confab




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Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) has earned commendations for the successful staging of the first National Information Convention (NIC), calling it a “timely and enriching” endeavor.

“The good thing about this convention is it is enriching, enhancing and encouraging,” said Catherine Somera, information officer of Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)-Region 1, in an interview with Philippine News Agency (PNA) after the NIC 2018 held at the SMX Convention Center in SM Lanang, Davao City on Feb. 19-21.

Somera said the NIC, organized by PCOO through Philippine Information Agency, has enhanced their knowledge and capabilities to become effective communicators at the grassroots level.

“It is important for me not only to be equipped with knowledge but attitude in doing our work so that we can really work in promoting government programs,” she said.

For his part, Ronaldo Cabanhaw said the NIC has enhanced his capabilities as designated public information officer (PIO) of the Parole Provision Administration in Region 6.

“It’s a big help for us in imparting information especially to the grassroots. We are happy to be part of this convention,” Cabanhaw said.

Norma Pereyras, a volunteer for 39 years of different non-government organizations from Tagum City, said she attended the NIC even without an invitation.

“It’s my commitment to help our government though I came from private sector,” she said. “This is what we need today. This is very timely with all the fake news going around.”

Through the convention, she said she was able to appreciate more the Duterte administration which has been doing an “amazing” job in empowering the public communicators to engage the citizenry in nation-building.

Pereyras said she congratulated PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar for the successful hosting of the NIC, requesting him to hold more similar events.

“I told Secretary Andanar not to stop here. Go and reach more,” she said, hoping the next convention will include officials of the country’s more than 42,000 barangays.

Throughout the three-day event, powerhouse speakers discussed topics on government programs and policies, media environment, raising the bar of governance, responsible communication, engaging citizenry in nation-building and communication strategy.

After the convention, Andanar and 17 representatives from different regions led the audience in reading of the Declaration of Commitment to Responsible Communication.

Andanar said the declaration of commitment will be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte, hoping it will be transformed into manifesto of support for stronger and empowered government information officers.

He promised to use all resources of government media to produce truthful and factual news and information down to the remotest barangays of the country.

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PCOO Launches ‘DU30 Mobile App’




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A new media platfrom that will serve as Filipinos’ link, here or abroad, for updates on the plans and programs of the Duterte administration was formally launched here Tuesday.

he Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) led the launch at the second day of the National Information Convention (NIC) at SMX Convention Center in Davao City of President DU30 mobile application as the newest media platform to link government to Filipino communities worldwide.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the DU30 App is the Filipinos link for updates on government plans, activities and speeches of President Rodrigo Duterte via the RTVM, Radyo Pilipinas, and the PCOO’s DU30 on Duty.

The mobile application is one of the initiatives of the PCOO, believing that mobile technology is one of the best ways to fight disinformation, misinformation and fake news.

With the growing number of active mobile users and with fact-based technology, Andanar said the PCOO continues to actively explore means, ways to communicate to people to get to know President Rodrigo Duterte, and the executive branch. Andanar noted that there are 62 million active mobile users out of the 105 million Filipinos.

The DU30 App is developed by iBayad Online Ventures Inc. It is downloadable on Google Play and the Apple Store for IPhone users.

Paolo Saycon, chief operating officer of iBayad, said the DU30 App is Andanar’s brainchild. Initially, it has links with PTV and Radyo Pilipinas. Other agencies within the scope of PCOO will also be added.

One of the features of the DU30 App is the sentiment analysis tool or the poll survey. It has also the Comment and Share, Quick Call, Caption This and Direct and Official Social Media Feeds.

After it was turned over to PCOO, Saycon said application is completely managed by PCOO. This was already reviewed by the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT).

According to Saycon, it took one year for iBayad to develop the application.

iBayad is also developing another feature of the application that will serve as a tool for President Duterte to send personal messages to the people.

There will be a module on the phone of the President or through Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go whereby the President can just send casual or non-formal messages to the people wherever he is.

This is aimed at bringing the President closer to the people, Saycon said.

iBayad has also developed another application initially called “Public Eye” which has tools on feedback, recording, and reporting for citizens of any incident like crimes, damaged roads, among others.

It will have sub-categories depending on how the PCOO would develop the structure.

Once clicked, it directly opens the camera to serve as CCTV and GPS then the user can send it to responsible agency. If it is of urgent or emergency situation it has linked to the 8888 and 911.

Saycon, however, said the application is not yet ready because it needs more security features to protect citizens.

Mervin Caraan of the iBayad Business Development assured the application is still okay even with multiple reports.

He said the application can even be used by Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) to report abuses.

There will be no problem on the magnitude of the download because iBayad is using the iCloud infrastructure network.

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Catholic Church Donates P26-M to Humanitarian Responses in 2017




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The social action arm of the Catholic Church has donated a total of PHP26 million to several disasters and emergencies last year.

According to Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Executive Secretary, NASSA/Caritas Philippines, the donation was released from its local funds under Alay Kapwa for numerous responses including fire, medical assistance, burial and typhoons.

“The amount and the vastness of the contribution our Alay Kapwa solidarity fund has provided are a testament to how fast we can gather our resources and extend assistance to the most in need dioceses,” he said in a statement.

“As a network, we have implemented programs in the most remote communities, highly vulnerable population and in some instances, under the most challenging conditions! The figures provide us a glimpse of our capacity, as the national social action arm of the Catholic Church, to respond readily to the needs of our dioceses. These are also showing how we have developed in terms of competence and efficiency to implement and manage multi-donor responses,” he added.

In addition to the local funds, NASSA/Caritas Philippines’ over-all humanitarian response portfolio in 2017 totaled to PHP267 million.

These are from the Caritas Internationalis confederation and other funding mechanisms. The amount assisted more than 69,000 families (348,000 individuals) affected by disasters and emergencies.

Currently, the humanitarian crises the national Caritas is supporting are the ongoing Marawi response and the Mayon Volcano’s eruption.

Gariguez noted that the Catholic Church is only complementing the efforts of the government and other organizations.

“We do not wish to be doing the work of the government especially. We fully recognize that our role is only to provide additional assistance. However, we cannot close our eyes to the pressing and severing needs of our people. Where others fail, we do our share,” he added.

NASSA /Caritas Philippines is the humanitarian, development and advocacy arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

It serves as secretariat to the 85 diocesan social action centers in the country and represents the Philippines to the Caritas Internationalis, a global confederation of Catholic charities.

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NIC Boosts DOE’s “E-Power Mo” Campaign




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The Department of Energy (DOE) joins hands with the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) in ensuring responsible communication to boost “E-Power Mo” at the National Information Convention (NIC) on 19-21 February at the SMX Convention Center in SM Lanang, Davao City.

In a speech delivered by DOE Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella, Energy Secretary Alfonso G.  Cusi emphasized that “an informed energy consumer is an empowered one.”

Usec. Fuentebella said the DOE took the opportunity through the NIC to inform the public on the “E-Power Mo” concept for the country’s quest to be globally competitive.

“The power of information can help consumers cut unnecessary costs while industry players are bound to compete more effectively,” the DOE official said.

Using the metaphor of a basketball game, Usec. Fuentebella outlined how energy users can play competitively following the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, the energy policies for an increased consumers’ power of choice, diversity in energy resources, energy resiliency, energy efficiency and conservation, and energy smart consumers.

On addressing the impact of the TRAIN Law, the DOE initiated proactive measures including advisories and timely monitoring that saved the public around P2.64 billion for liquid petroleum fuels (i.e., gasoline, diesel, kerosene) and P58.4 million for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

For increased consumer power of choice, the DOE together with the Energy Regulatory Commission will push for the full implementation of Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA) under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA). With RCOA in place, “contestable customers” or huge electricity users with at least one megawatt (1 MW) demand are now able to choose their power suppliers to reduce their costs.

Toward providing more choices, the RCOA implementation aims to include consumers with 0.75 MW demand (likened to a nine-storey building) then consumers of 0.5 MW, until reaching 0.10 MW (at least a 2-storey building).

Another choice is the “Green Energy Option” which gives consumers the power to choose a sustainable and more environmental-friendly energy for their utilization.

Moreover, the DOE presented its program in diversifying the country’s energy resources, highlighting its activities for the realization of a Liquefied Natural Gas terminal and the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear energy.

For energy resiliency, the DOE issued policy guidelines to ensure the energy sector’s preparedness, quick response and rehabilitation mechanisms to address adverse impact of natural and human-induced disasters.

Lastly, Usec. Fuentebella shared the programs for energy efficiency and conservation including practical energy tips.

Around 1,800 information officers and participants from around the country attended the NIC.

The DOE co-presented the convention, together with the Social Security System.

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