Palace launches weekly show hosted by Andanar, Uson

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Sunday, June 4, launched a weekly program hosted by Communications Secretary Martin Andanar and Assistant Secretary for Social Media Mocha Uson, both of whom have been embroiled in fake news controversies.

The program, called DDS Podcast, is the "flagship tele-radio program of the Presidential Communications Operations Office" (PCOO), according to Andanar's Facebook account. (READ: FAST FACTS: What is the PCOO?)

The show, which airs every Sunday morning, is meant to give updates on President Rodrigo Duterte's engagements and policies, "as well as on the latest programs and activities of the PCOO."

It will be shown on the Facebook pages of the PCOO and Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM), and simultaneously aired over state-owned Radyo ng Bayan.

Andanar said the hour-long program would also feature a drama called "Dulaang Duterte Special" and a face-to-face chat with Filipino social media users here and abroad.

In the opening credits of the program, Andanar and Uson   both accused of spreading fake news and propaganda – are described as "two of the most trusted DDS voices."

In February, Andanar, a former newsreader, claimed that reporters were given $1,000 to cover the press conference of retired policeman Arturo "Arthur" Lascañas against Duterte. (READ: Senate media to Andanar: Prove claim or apologize for fake news)

As PCOO chief, Andanar supervises the Philippine News Agency (PNA), which recently used a Wikimedia Commons photo of the Vietnam War in its article about the Marawi City siege.

The PCOO also recently released a video promoting martial law as the "law of the land" but took it down after receiving backlash. (READ: Andanar hides from media after new PCOO blunders)

Uson, meanwhile, has shared several unverified information and photos on her social media account. In August 2016, she shared a photo of a murdered little girl to slam the "silence" of Duterte's critics.

It turned out that the image was taken in Brazil in 2014 and not in the Philippines. In a BBC interview, Uson cleared herself of responsibility, saying she "did not say that it happened in the Philippines" and that she deleted the post when she found out it was fake.

Last May, the dancer-turned-government official also used a photo of Honduras police in a Facebook post calling for support for troops in Marawi City. (READ: Undeserving? Mocha Uson has this to say to Mariel de Leon– Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a multimedia reporter focusing on media, technology, and disinformation.

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