MANILA, Philipppines – How did the Philippine News Agency (PNA), a newswire service under the News and Information Bureau of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) end up posting a food company’s logo instead of a government department’s?
Blame it on a quick Google search and apparent unawareness of what the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) logo looks like.
At a House hearing on the PCO's proposed budget for 2018, Secretary Martin Andanar explained that the “retriever” – whose experience in government spans over 4 decades – had gotten a press release from the DOLE and was tasked to upload it with an accompanying photo.
“He Googled the image and saw the Dole logo, the one with a pineapple, and that’s what he uploaded,” said Andanar, referring to Dole Philippines, a fruits and vegetables producer. The DOLE release was about rules that would govern pays during holidays in 2018.
From there, the article was passed on to an editor, who also apparently failed to double check the article and the accompanying picture.
“It was approved, that’s why it was released. The incident really is an embarrassment,” added the Cabinet secretary, who brought with him to the hearing the two PNA employees responsible for the mishap.
Joseph Paligutan, the retriever, admitted that he thought the Dole Philippines logo was the same as the DOLE logo. A quick Google image search of “DOLE” shows both logos beside each other.
Lilibeth Ison, who has been with the PNA since 1994, said the “lapse” was caused by “confusion” over a new system for uploading articles. “We’re still struggling with it until now,” she said.
This isn’t the first mistake by the state-run news agency. At least two of its employees have resigned because of mistakes they committed – one over the use of Vietnam war photo in a story about the ongoing crisis in Marawi and another for wrongly attributing quotes to an interior department official.
Andanar said both Paligutan and Ison are still working for PNA but have been served a show cause order to explain the incident. They cannot be terminated outright because, as regular employees, they are protected by the Civil Service Code.