Agriculture Sec. Manny Pinol called out Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO) chief Sec. Martin Andanar over the move of a PTV 4 reporter who asked President Duterte about his thoughts on the agriculture secretary’s move to supposedly legalize the entry of rice coming from Malaysia in Southern Philippines.
In open letter to Andanar posted in social media account, Piñol expressed his disappointment that the PTV 4 reporters muddled the issue on the problems of rice importation and how the department deals with rice smuggling.
The letter was titled “Tawi-Tawi Rice Trading Center to end smuggling, earn P1-B.”
“I am deeply disappointed that a reporter of PTV4, a government television channel, would cause further misunderstanding and confusion on a very important issue by asking President Rody Duterte whether he approves of my proposal to “legalize rice smuggling” in the ZAMBASULTA Area,” Piñol said.
Incidentally, Andanar is reportedly abroad for a personal trip.
Of course, Piñol said the President was right that he would not allow the entry of smuggled rice to address the rice crisis.
Piñol urged the PCOO, which has jurisdiction over PTV 4, to be more circumspect in handling the rice issue. He said the same should go for other entities under the PCOO which are involved in dissemination of news to the public.
“The reporter should have gone over my previous statements on the proposed Tawi-Tawi Rice Trading Center, which by the way is supported by the local government units and the people of the ZAMBASULTA Area, before she posed to the President a wrongly premised question,” he said.
“I really hope that PTV4 and other government media entities under your department would exert more effort to clarify nebulous issues with other departments like the DA, especially in these times where the critics of the administration are engaged in a disinformation and destabilization campaign,” Piñol added.
“The last thing that we need now is a PTV4 reporter further fanning the fire by asking the President to respond to a wrongly premised question,” he said.