Andanar: No public funds wasted in European press freedom caravan
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Communications Operations Office’s (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar assured on Monday that no public funds were wasted in the ongoing press freedom caravan in Europe.
Andanar issued the statement after two senators questioned the need for the caravan to supposedly explain to the European media the “real nature” of the cyberlibel case of Rappler chief executive officer Maria Ressa.
“Rest assured no public funds are wasted in this official mission which came about from a directive from the National Security Council,” Andanar said in a statement.
He added that all engagements in Europe are part of the PCOO’s mandate to deliver and disseminate information on the President’s policies and programs.
In an earlier radio interview, Andanar said the caravan, led by PCOO officials, were in Bosnia and are set to go to Belgium and Switzerland to talk to European media on the state of press freedom in the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte.
Andanar said the PCOO team was composed of Undersecretaries Lorraine Badoy and Joel Egco and Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan.
“Eh dinadala natin iyong Press Freedom Caravan para maintindihan nila, para maliwanagan sila sa kaso ni Maria Ressa (We brought to Europe the Press Freedom Caravan to help clear the issue on Maria Ressa),” Andanar said in the interview.
“So iyon ngayon ay nandoon si Usec. Joel Egco at nandoon si Asec. Kris Ablan, si Usec. Badoy para ipaliwanag kung ano talaga iyong nature ng kaso ni Ms. Ressa at kung bakit walang kinalaman ang Duterte administration dito dahil maliwanag naman na ito ay kaso between a private individual, a private businessman in the name of Wilfredo Keng at si Miss Ressa at ang kaniyang Rappler,” he added.
(So Usec Joel Egco, Asec Kris Ablan and Usec Badoy are in Europe to explain the case of Ms. Ressa and why the Duterte administration is not involved in it. It is clear that it’s a case between a private individual — businessman Wilfredo Keng — and Miss Ressa and Rappler.) /ee
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