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Followers, engagement count among factors considered to accredit vloggers in Malacañang

By NICK GARCIA Published Jun 09, 2022 1:01 pm

The number of followers and engagement are the factors under consideration in accrediting vloggers to cover Malacañang press briefings under the Marcos Jr. administration, incoming press secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said.

Cruz-Angeles, a lawyer and radio commentator who is also into vlogging, told TeleRadyo on June 9 that they'll review the "old policy," noting that social media personalities must have at least 20,000 followers to cover palace events.

The previous policy under Presidential Communications Operations Office Department Order (DO) No. 15—issued on Aug. 8, 2017, by outgoing secretary Martin Andanar—states that a social media practitioner who wants to cover the events and official activities of the president must have a minimum of 5,000 followers. The account owner must also be at least 18 years old.

Cruz-Angeles also pointed out that the engagement of the would-be Malacañang vlogger's social media account would also be reviewed, noting it's a different metric from the follower count.

"Kasi engagements really means that people are responding to what you have written or shown," she said. "Interesado sila (followers) o nai-involve sila doon sa sinasabi (ng vlogger)."

"Kino-consider namin both following and engagements," she added.

Angeles, however, said they have yet determine the level of access that vloggers will have under the Marcos Jr. administration.

"Hindi pa rin natin po alam kung tama na nga po, na ngayon ang panahon na nararapat para ma-include sila, ano iyong level of inclusion," Cruz-Angeles said. "Will they be regular, similar to the Malacanang Press Corps or will they just be able to cover events? Do we create events for them?"

Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s debut press briefing as president-elect last May 26 only saw the attendance of three media organizations, namely Net25, SMNI, and GMA.

Marcos Jr.'s spokesman Vic Rodriguez, who'll soon become his executive secretary, said the limited invitation doesn't mean they "intended to exclude anyone," noting the three organizations previously expressed interest in conducting a one-on-one interview with his boss while he was still a candidate.

Palace coverages and events are usually limited to journalists from television networks, newspapers, and online news media—until Andanar via his DO No. 15 started accrediting social media personalities, mostly pro-administration ones.

Cruz-Angeles previously said she'll push for the accreditation of vloggers in Malacañang, "especially those contacted by the president-elect."

The University of the Philippines's Danilo Arao called the move a "dangerous proposition, considering disinformation emanating from certain 'influencers' and censorship of certain journalists."

For Vergel Santos of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, accrediting vloggers "tends to legitimize the false impression that bloggers are journalists, and as such, part of the institution that the democratic constitution assigns as people’s watchdog on government—the press.”

Responding to Santos, Cruz-Angeles over at DWIZ acknowledged that vlogging is not journalism, hence the planned accreditation.