November 18, 2019 - Monday
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Davao City, Philippines

No violent aftershocks; Exec gives PCCO side

October 18, 2019 - Friday 4:10 AM by Jimmy Laking

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The other day’s earthquake that shook parts of Mindanao was the strongest yet I felt since relocating back to the city.
But the absence of violent aftershocks makes our earthquake visitors tame by comparison to what struck northern Luzon in 1990.
Our earthquake visitors are well-behaved. They came announced, made their presence felt, then faded into imperceptible aftershocks.
Not so the July 16, 1990 version.  That was a nightmare. Not only did it strike with a 7.7 magnitude, it came with violent aftershocks that lasted till the next day and the next.  What the first strike failed to destroy, the succession of violent aftershocks was what brought down buildings and bridges, triggered landslides and cut off roads.
By chance, I was at a hot spring resort 16 kilometers south of Baguio City when it struck. The day previously, I took a leave from the desk of the Manila Chronicle for a two-day rest, or so I thought. When the earthquake struck, it lifted the swimming pool, emptied its contents, and dumped it back in place. The rest was history.
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We stand corrected. In the interest of fairness, we are reprinting (with the editor’s permission) a letter from a public servant:

This letter is in response to the column authored by Mr. Jimmy Laking last 13 October 2019 entitled "Traffic Crisis Inherited; Sec. Andanar Stumbles" 

In the said column Mr. Laking called out that Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar is "still green behind the ears" and goes on to say that this was shown because the Secretary issued a statement on the "shooting death of Tagum City-based radio station owner Paterno Lucero Pacquiao on October 11." 

We would like to be clear with regards to the statement issued by the Secretary which in no words state that Mr. Pacquiao has died, which we quote below verbatim: 

"STATEMENT OF PCOO SECRETARY MARTIN ANDANAR ON THE SHOOTING OF DAVAO DEL NORTE BROADCASTER PAT LUCERO PACQUIAO We are enjoining the authorities in Davao del Norte to closely investigate the shooting of broadcaster and provincial public information officer Pat Lucero Pacquiao last October 11 and to quickly look for the suspects who committed the crime. 
The PCOO condemns any act that threatens the well-being of media practitioners simply for doing their job of informing the public. Our office is dedicated to creating an environment that fosters press freedom and where the media can work free of harm. 
We hope for Mr. Pacquiao's quick recovery and the speedy resolution of the incident. 
As co-chair of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, I have ordered a special investigation to build a solid case, and eventually attain justice for Mr. 
Pacquiao. We will closely monitor this development, and we are prepared to give necessary legal assistance. 
Moving forward, we in the PTFoMS will ensure the protection of life, liberty, and security of all media workers in the Philippines." 
We believe that Mr. Laking has solely based his statement on a news report which misquoted the statement, and which was rectified as soon as our office monitored the report. We are disappointed that Mr. Laking can make pronouncements in his column that the Secretary issued a statement "without having checked with his facts" when in fact it is Mr. Laking who did not bother to get all the information. Granted that he was not among the media who received the PCOO statement, a little due diligence on his part by checking with fellow media is expected. 

While we respect that Mr. Laking's column is for his opinions, opinions with regards to official statements should be based on facts. Moreover, to say that the PCOO has failed to communicate the President's actions and policies is irresponsible. It would seem that Mr. Laking is not aware of the many programs initiated by the PCOO to inform the public as well as better the field of communications in the country such as the Presser, the Virtual Presser, Truth Caravan, Youth for Truth, and Dismiss Disinformation campaign, among others. 

In the future, we encourage Mr. Laking to get in touch with the PCOO should he have any clarifications or any wish to get his facts straight. And we wish to give him the same advice he has given the Secretary and that he be "man enough to rectify his error the soonest" and "the sooner the apology, the better for all." 

Respectfully, 

Jusan Vincent L. Arcena
Assistant Secretary
Office of the Global Media and Public Affairs 

 

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