MANILA – The Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) is still in the process of evaluating whether or not vloggers and other social media practitioners may be accredited to cover President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Malacañang events.
During the Senate subcommittee on finance hearing on Monday, newly-installed OPS officer-in-charge (OIC) Undersecretary Cheloy Garafil said her office will continue studying the status of vlogger accreditation that began during the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Nag-umpisa po ito last administration at pinagpatuloy po sya ng dating Secretary Trixie [Cruz]-Angeles. Ngayon po (This started in the last administration and was continued by former Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles. Now) we will continue to conduct the study and evaluate kung pupuwede po silang ma-accredit po sa pagco-cover sa atin sa Malacañang. So ongoing pa yung study po nito (if they can be accredited to cover Malacañang. So this study is still ongoing),” she said.
Garafil said she hopes her office may soon issue guidelines on vlogger accreditation “in time.”
She also noted that the OPS plans to hold consultations with other media sectors to obtain more insight into what they can expect from vlogger accreditation.
“Talagang pina-aaralan po natin ng mabuti kasi gusto natin mag-set ng parameters at saka mga criteria para ma-determine natin kung talagang maari silang i-accredit sa ating pagco-cover sa ating mga opisyal at sa Malacañang in particular. Kaya nga po we will also seek the guidance ng ibang mga sector para po mapag-aralan po natin itong mabuti (We are really studying this thoroughly because we want to set parameters and criteria to determine if they can be accredited to cover officials and Malacañang. That is why we will seek the guidance of other sectors to study this better),” she added.
Earlier, Cruz-Angeles said giving social media personalities access to Palace coverage will help raise public awareness on the policies and programs of the incoming Marcos administration.
The now-defunct Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) started accrediting vloggers or social media personalities with at least 5,000 followers to attend presidential events in 2017.
Under the order, a social media practitioner refers to “a person that maintains a publicly-accessible social media page, blog or website which generates the content and whose principal advocacy is the regular dissemination of original news and/or opinion of interest.”
During Marcos’ presidential campaign, vloggers were allowed to cover alongside journalists.
Earlier, Garafil said the OPS may see “some changes” in the coming days after wrapping her head around OPS operations.
Garafil was named OIC on Oct. 7 following the resignation of Cruz-Angeles due to health reasons.
Communicating to broader public
Meanwhile, Garafil assured lawmakers that the OPS will continue to boost efforts to inform and communicate to a broader public what the Marcos administration seeks to achieve in the months ahead.
“...The Office of the Press Secretary will uphold freedom of speech, of expression, and of the press as guided by the Constitution. This is a cornerstone of a democratic society and we intend to do our part in defending this constitutional provision,” she said.
Garafil also underscored the “crucial” role of the free press in strengthening democracy.
“Under my watch the OPS will actively promote transparency, accuracy, and accountability as hallmarks of good governance,” he added. (PNA)