Former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) and senatorial hopeful Christopher “Bong” Go spoke at the Mindanao Media Safety and Security Summit on Saturday to address the deactivation and deletion of over 100 pages, including many which expressed Pro-Duterte views.
In Go’s speech, he expressed his wish for a fair election and particularly called for a stop to mudslinging or similar political tactics.
“I personally discourage mudslinging. If the Facebook pages were to derail other people, ayaw kong nagkakasiraan (I don’t want throwing shades at each other),“ said Go.
With the 2019 midterm election approaching, Go encouraged people to use social media responsibly. According to Go, exercising your right as a citizen to speak, learn, and communicate ideas on social media is a part of democracy.
“It is democracy in action. Okay lang na tanggalin (It’s okay to remove them) if Facebook thinks it is used to derail other people,” he said.
Go continued to address the media and thank them for their role in protecting democracy and raising awareness among the general population.
“Gusto kong sabihin na kayo ang isa sa aking tulay para malaman ko ang mga hinanaing ng sambayanan. Kayo ang nagsisilbing taga-dala ng impormasyon na pwedeng magamit para masolusyonan ang mga problema ng bayan (I just want to say that you are one of my bridges to be able to know the people’s concerns. You bring information that is used to solve issues in the country),” he added.
Go emphasized the need to protect the media, especially when their jobs often earn them powerful enemies as they pursue the truth. Go expressed his intentions to strengthen the current legislation protecting the media community. Should he win a seat in the senate, Go plans to support President Rodrigo Duterte’s thrust for journalistic safety.
President Duterte’s first Administrative Order after taking office in 2016 was to combat media killings and to establish the Presidential Task Force on Media Security.
“You have to be protected because you uphold the truth. There are a lot of people who want to abuse this power of the press and abuse your ability to spread truthful news,” said Go.
A statement by Facebook said that the deletion was not political, but rather than the pages violated the social network’s user policies on spam. In total, 95 pages and 39 accounts were deleted “for violating our spam and authenticity policies” and directing visitors to “low quality websites that contain little substantive content and are full of disruptive ads”.
“It is indeed important for us and the rest of the Filipinos to read credible, accurate and fact-based news. The truth must prevail, always,” added Go. For Go, the deletion of the Facebook pages, if it follows to create a more fair political environment, would be a good thing for voters.
Go is running for senator under the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), the home party of President Duterte. Go filed his certificate of candidacy before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on October 15, 2018.