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Philippine government’s push back against Chinese aggression gaining traction in international community

DAPITAN CITY (PIA) -- The Philippine government is fighting disinformation and propaganda against its efforts to protect its interests in the West Philippine Sea with a strategic transparency initiative.

“Our aim is to strengthen national resilience and consolidate support for our national interest in the West Philippine Sea; build and drum up international support and recognition for the 2016 arbitral award in our interest in the West Philippine Sea,” said Assistant Secretary Michel Andre del Rosario of the Presidential Communications Office (PCO).

He said the initiative exposed an entrenched, well-organized, and well-funded maligned influence network of Filipinos, organizations, and institutions, which include local media and public personalities deployed in various channels to carry out propaganda and information against the government efforts in the West Philippine Sea.

Among this propaganda reframing the instigating acts against the Philippines and its allies; it also includes fearmongering and outright slander against officials, including the president.

“We are fighting back; we are gaining ground. Internal polling showed that our people right now outright distrust the People's Republic of China, from -9 in November 2022 to -46 in November 2023. The decline is precipitous and unprecedented,” del Rosario said.

Also on the diplomatic front, more nations have expressed their support for the Philippine position in the West Philippine Sea.

He added that the initiative leverages the whole of government and the whole of society approach to prepare for instability, volatility, and shocks.

“Communication is crucial in delivering this by informing, preparing, and mobilizing our population,” del Rosario said.

Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson Commodore Jay Tarriela during the PCG strategic communications workshop with Mindanao information officers of the Philippine Information Agency, as part of the strategic transparency initiative of the government

The PCO official said they have seen the power of communication in the past year in countering the adversary’s disinformation.

“Our unified and coordinated approach to strategic communication in the West Philippine Sea, akin to the UK’s communication model, has allowed us to make and deliver high-quality, relevant, consistent, and comprehensive messaging without sacrificing the rigor of what might have been once called ‘peacetime communication’,” del Rosario said during his Zoom lecture at the Strategic Communication Workshop for Philippine Information Agency (PIA) information officers held March 5 in Dapitan City.

Del Rosario said that the PCO, Philippine Coast Guard, and Philippine Information Agency are sustaining the transparency initiative campaign by innovating and adapting and keeping the messaging consistent, coordinated, cohesive, calibrated, and clear.

“We dictate our tempo, sustain the initiative and momentum, save the information landscape, and dominate the information and communication environment,” del Rosario cited the keys to winning the battle against disinformation about the country’s interest in the West Philippine Sea. (RGA/PIA Davao)

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Rudolph Ian Alama

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Region 11

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