Senate Panel Approves PCO Budget For 2024

SENATE PANEL — The Senate Committee on Finance has approved the budget proposal of the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) for fiscal year 2024.

The Presidential Communications Office is seeking PHP 1.921 billion in order to sustain its operations for next year and the proposed budget will be endorsed to the plenary.

In defending the PCO budget proposal on Monday, PCO Secretary Cheloy Garafil highlighted the agency’s campaign against the proliferation of fake news and misinformation.

PCO Insists Marcos Admin Has No Troll Farm or Troll Army

PCO Secretary Cheloy Garafil: “For the record, Mr. Chair, wala po kaming troll. No troll farm, no troll army”

PCO – On Monday, Presidential Communications Office Secretary Cheloy Garafil insisted that the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has no troll farm or troll army.

During the Senate Committee on Finance hearing of the Presidential Communications Office’s proposed PHP 1.79 billion budget for fiscal year 2024, the PCO secretary said that the agency has only have 363 employees.

For the record, Mr. Chair, wala po kaming troll. No troll farm, no troll army,” Garafil said. “Mr. Chair, mayroon lang po kaming 363 employees sa PCO.

Cheloy Garafil
Photo source: Daily Tribune

The issue on trolls was asked by Senator JV Ejercito noting that a total of 1,479 Palace personnel have been suspected of being trolls who were allegedly proliferating misinformation and fake news on social media sites during the previous administration.

Garafil also maintained that it has been the goal of the Presidential Communications Office to combat fake news.

According to the PCO secretary, the number one priority of the PCO is the communication with the President, but underlying that is the fight against fake news. She also said that the agency launched the media information literacy campaign in order to address the problem on fake news.

Last month, the Presidential Communications Office had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with other government agencies to implement the Marcos administration’s Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Campaign Project.

The PCO said that the Media and Information Literacy is the current administration’s response to the misinformation and disinformation plaguing the country’s digital landscape, focusing on “capacitating the youth to become more discerning consumers of media”.

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