Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Presidential Communications Secretary Meets The Entertainment Press & Shares His Battle Against Fake News

MARTIN ANDANAR had his first lunch with the entertainment press since he joined the Duterte government. We’ve known him since he was with GMA-7, then moved to TV5, and he remains warm and amiable. Born on Aug. 21, 1974, Martin is from Cagayan de Oro, studied in UP Los Banos, then moved to Australia where he finished A.B. in Social and Political Studies, also Film and Media Studies at the Federation University in Ballarat, Victoria, where he was the first Filipino to get a Distinguished Alumnus Award.

He returned to Manila and got his master’s degree in entrepeneurship at the AIM. He also took fellowship programs at Georgetown University in Washington DC, Northern Illinois University, Harvard Kennedy School, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore and Hong Kong University.

He’s now the Secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office under Pres. Digong Duterte. He’s in charge of the government’s news and information agencies and one of his flagship programs is Dutertenomics, referring to the socio-economic policies of Pres. Digong that included the development of infrastructure and industries, with the main aim being poverty reduction and eventual transformation of our country into a high middle income economy.

Martin’s term comes at a time when social media has become an active alternative source of news. Recently, as Chair of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information, he led a discussion attended by 32 information ministers from the ASEAN region, tackling the negative effects of fake news with the theme “Countering Fake News and Communicating the Right Information”. The discussion focused on Experiences on Fake News, Practical Measures to Counter Fake News, Possible Government Initiatives to Ensure that the Right Info is Communicated, and Cooperation Initiatives on Countering Fake News and Communicating the Right Info. He called for a dialogue with Google and Facebook to show the relevance of social media networks in combating fake news on their websites.

He now also tries to build communication networks in every city and municipality. “I talk to the governor, mayor or city information officer so we can set up stronger communications na diretso na sa kanila. This was done before in the Arroyo administration and it was effective, pero hindi na-sustain, so we’re trying to revive it. We’ve also relaunched PTV4, with the newscast now anchored by Erwin Tulfo. We have new programs, like do’s and dont’s for OFWs, and the first Muslim digital station on Channel 27. Marami pang pagbabago as we have to move forward.”

How would he describe Pres. Digong as a person and a leader? “He is a very sincere, patriotic person, also very competent. Everything he does is for the good of the country and you can feel he just wants the best for the Filipino people.”

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