PTV to ‘institute disciplinary actions’ vs those behind #DutertePalpak post
MANILA, Philippines — The management of the government’xs People’s Television Network (PTV) said on Wednesday that it would “certainly institute disciplinary actions” against members of its social media team who, in an “erroneous posting,” used the #dutertepalpak hashtag popular among netizens dissatisfied with the government’s COVID-19 response.
“Palpak” is Filipino for “blunder” or “embarrassing failure.”
“PTV New Media deeply regrets the error and takes full responsibility for the oversight. The management will certainly institute disciplinary actions against members of the social media team who are behind the erroneous posting,” it said in a statement. PTV New Media handles the TV station’s website and social media pages.
The post that appeared on the TV network’s Twitter and Facebook accounts around 7 p.m. on Tuesday contained a link to a story on the PTV website about Mr. Duterte’s instructions for the interior department and local officials to provide free masks to poor Filipinos.
It read: “President Rodrigo R. #dutertepalpak BTS reiterated his order to provide free masks for the public especially to those who cannot buy their own.” The now-deleted post immediately went viral, with people sharing screenshots on social media.
More than two hours later, the TV station issued a statement saying that “PTV is currently investigating the intent behind the malicious post. Our apologies.” It added that the post contained “the wrong hashtag that was never in the original caption.”
An updated statement later said the post was the result of “predictive systems in the text entry phase and a failure to adequately review and screen the message that actually got posted.”
The “BTS” mentioned in the post could be a reference to the popular K-pop group nominated for a Grammy award for best pop duo/group performance. The band’s performance at the award ceremony in Los Angeles on March 14 also trended on social media.
In a press briefing on Monday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr., when asked about the trending hashtag, said that based on data, the government was successful in reducing COVID-19 cases and the death toll.
He admitted that while cases had gone up this month, this might have been due to the entry into the country of the new and more transmissible COVID-19 variants and not because the government was a failure.
For former Vice President Jejomar Binay, PTV should not punish the staff for the gaffe, as “he or she is just sharing the sentiment of many Filipinos.”
“Even in a government TV station, we assume there is still freedom of expression,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Sometimes, the truth hurts. And this may sound familiar to many, but the people deserve more than ‘manhid at palpak’ governance,” added Binay, who has recently become more vocal in his criticism of the government.
PTV-4 said it would resume broadcast on Thursday after a two-day disinfection of its head office in Quezon City.
—WITH A REPORT FROM DEXTER CABALZA
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