PCOO calls Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian as ‘Winston’
The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) again bungled another official press release despite public indignation that a P1-billion-a-year agency could not check its spelling or even get people’s names right.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian was apparently not amused on Saturday when he posted on Twitter a screenshot of the PCOO website showing a June 13 article identifying him as Sen. “Winston” Gatchalian.
The article was about the June 13 signing in Malacañang of an agreement on the implementation of free tuition at state universities and colleges.
“The President witnessed the signing with presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr., Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, Sen. Winston Gatchalian and Zamboanga Sibugay 2nd District Rep. Ann Hofer,” the article stated.
“May pagasa pa ba ang PCOO??? (Is there still hope for the PCOO???)” Gatchalian wrote, spurring the PCOO to correct the error.
The article came out only two days after the PCOO released on June 11 an announcement on the death of former Congressman and National Security Adviser Jose Roilo Golez, whom the agency identified as “Rogelio” Golez.
The following day, June 14, the PCOO again released a picture of the Norwegian ambassador’s farewell call on President Duterte, again making a social media mockery of Malacañang’s communications office.
“The President conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Datu to [sic] outgoing Norwegian Ambassador Erik Forner for his service as the representative of Norwegia,” the post read.
Netizens were quick to pick on the typographic error and posted comments or memes mocking the PCOO for repeated errors since the Duterte administration assumed office last year.
Some netizens located “Norwegia” near the fictional movie kingdoms of Wakanda or Genovia.
But instead of apologizing for the error, PCOO Assistant Secretary Lorraine Badoy defended the flub as a mere “typo” and chose to pick a fight with a netizen who commented on the agency’s budget.
In 2018, the PCOO received a budget of P1.38 billion, which was 4.6 percent higher than its 2017 budget of P1.32 billion.
Incidentally, the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), an agency under the PCOO, announced through its Eastern Visayas office that it would be spearheading a campaign against “disinformation,” or “fake news.”
She added that as the communications arm of the government, it was the PIA’s role to inform the public of its programs and campaign against fake news as they had personnel all over the country.
Venus Sarmiento, the PIA’s regional manager, urged government officials to explain the programs of their agencies to avoid the spread of erroneous information.
“We have the obligation to determine what is fake and what is real … which could cause panic and misinformation to the public,” Sarmiento said in a statement.
She announced the campaign on June 20 at a conference of information officers of the Social Security System, Department of Health, Department of Labor, and Department of Energy. —WITH A REPORT FROM JOEY A. GABIETA
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