MANILA -- MalacaAang on Tuesday said the ongoing Press Freedom Caravan organized by government in European countries has nothing to do with the arrest of Rappler Chief Executive Officer Maria Ressa over cyber libel charges.
As explained by Secretary Andanar, the said trip has nothing to do with the arrest of Rappler's CEO Maria Ressa given the fact that the delegation left the country prior to Ressa's arrest with an agenda prepared weeks before their departure, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
But any question raised from whatever source in the course of their travel relative to Ressa's arrest shall be responded to, to correct whatever wrong impression arising from the false news being spread about it, he added.
Earlier, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar clarified the purpose of the caravan is not to discuss Ressa's arrest, as the group was not even aware it was coming. However, he admitted that the topic could be raised during the caravan.
Citing Andanar, Panelo said PCOO simply saw the trip as an opportune time to hold the caravan to keep Filipinos abreast of the latest developments happening in our country.
The delegation is tasked to deliver crucial information and campaigns of the government to Filipinos abroad, as well as to the members of the international communities, Panelo said.
Panelo said he shared Andanar's sentiment that the trip is meaningful and truthful because it aims to disseminate the policies of government.
He emphasized that the caravan will also help disprove continuing lies spread by the President's critics and the tendency of some foreign entities to believe them.
On Monday, Andanar said that the caravan is only a side event to an engagement between a Philippine delegation and United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UN WGEID).
The engagement, which took place in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina on February 11-15, discussed cases of alleged enforced or involuntary disappearances attributed to the Philippines from 1975 to 2012.
It is also meant to demonstrate the commitment of the Philippine government to respect, protect and fulfill human rights.
The delegation, which will include members of the National Task Force (NTF) to End Communist Armed Conflict, will also be meeting with officials to discuss ways to address communist insurgency.
PCOO, being a committee member of the National Task Force (NTF) to End Communist Armed Conflict pursuant to Executive Order 70, provides communications support in terms of messaging and content to the anti-Communist Terrorist Groups efforts, Andanar said.
The engagement of PCOO in the NTF alongside relevant agencies of gov't in the security cluster is necessary in the adoption of a National peace framework as directed by the President by putting together the context, messaging and communication plan for the whole-of-nation approach to be executed by the NTF, he added.
Source: Philippines News Agency