MANILA -- Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar on Monday apologized to Senator Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian anew for one of his agency’s press releases that got the lawmaker’s name wrong.
In the June 13, 2018 press release of the PCOO titled “President Duterte commits to provide quality and affordable education to all,” the agency named the senator “Winston” instead of his actual name, “Sherwin.”
The PCOO published an erratum on June 23 and vowed to apply stricter measures to avoid oversight in the future. Andanar also apologized to Gatchalian on social media.
In a radio interview, Andanar confirmed that he indeed messaged Gatchalian to apologize and assured him that the PCOO is addressing the problem.
“Nag-isyu po kami at ako mismo (Our agency issued an erratum), I messaged Senator Gatchalian. Sabi ko na ako ay humihingi ng paumanhin sa nangyari (I told him that I apologize for what happened) and rest assured that we are fixing the problem,” Andanar said.
“From the bottom of our hearts, we are really sorry for what happened,” he added, noting that Gatchalian is his friend.
Not an isolated problem
According to Andanar, it was “really frustrating” for his agency to encounter such problems but noted that it happens to even the best news organizations.
In fact, he said there have been instances when newspapers and sites have also incorrectly referred to the senator as “Winston.”
“If you try to search that name, iyong maling pangalan na (the wrong name) Winston, makikita mo na meron ding mga (you’ll see that there are) Philippine newspapers na gumagamit ng (that have also used) Winston,” Andanar said.
Andanar said that he did not want to make excuses for his agency but pointed out that mistakes were not a problem of government alone.
“It’s not only an isolated problem of the government, although I am not saying that this is an excuse. It is as frustrating for me as it is for our readers,” Andanar said.
“It is normal for -- it’s really normal for newspapers organizations to issue an erratum or errata,” he added.
The PCOO chief, however, said that the agency is adjusting its standard operating procedures to be “acceptable” in the industry.
Moreover, he said that the agency will be adding more editors not just to check news reports but photo captions to make sure that there is no oversight.
Andanar, meanwhile, said that some employees responsible for making mistakes due to negligence are either suspended or charged, while others resigned.
He, meanwhile, admitted that sometimes, he wondered if his agency was being sabotaged.
“Napapaisip din ako minsan eh, na ano ba ito? Sinasabotahe ba ako as Secretary (I can’t help but think sometimes, what’s this? Are they trying to sabotage me as Secretary)? Andanar said.
The “Winston” gaffe comes after a PCOO Facebook post last June 20 described outgoing Norwegian Ambassador Erik Forner for his service as the "representative of Norwegia.”
The word “Norwegia” was immediately corrected to “Norway.” (With reports from Nicole De Leon,OJT/PNA)