PCOO to draft bill banning ‘troll farms’
MANILA, Philippines — Upon the request of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) will draft a bill that would ban “troll farms” and penalize those who will engage in such activities.
“You keep on denying you have no budget for trolls. You will never admit you have a budget for trolls,” Drilon said during the budget hearing of the PCOO in the Senate Thursday.
“Assuming you are telling us the truth that there is no budget for trolls, but having said that, do you think we should enact a law which will ban troll farms and penalize those who engage in troll activities? Would you endorse that?” he added.
In response, PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar said such a measure would be a “good idea.”
“I think it’s a good idea to enact something like that or even perhaps go beyond it by penalizing people who spread fake news,” Andanar said.
Drilon then asked the PCOO to draft a bill which senators can look into and examine.
“Since you are in this, experts in the field of communication and this inevitably—the issue of trolls—would come around and you agree that they should be banned, can you submit to us a draft bill which would ban and punish the trolls?” the senator asked.
Andanar answered in the affirmative. “We will draft it.”
Earlier in the hearing, several senators questioned PCOO’s hiring of some 1,476 contract of service (COS) workers, whom Drilon insisted on calling “trolls.”
The Senate finance sub-committee, which is hearing the proposed 2022 budget of the PCOO, asked the agency to submit records regarding the 1,479 COS workers.
The budget deliberation of the PCOO was deferred until next week to give way for other senators to pose their questions.
The PCOO is proposing a total budget of P1.9 billion for 2022, 18 percent increase from its P1.62-billion budget this year.
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