Mocha Uson backs out of army speaking engagement

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) member and blogger Mocha Uson backed out of a speaking engagement before top-level army officials on Tuesday, saying she wanted to spare the army from the bashing of her critics.

In a blog post on Monday, Uson told her Facebook followers she chose to skip the 15-minute talk at the Armed Forces of the Philippines' 10th Senior Leaders Conference after her invitation to the event drew flak.

"Hindi po tama at hindi po deserving ang Philippine Army na yurakan sila. Kaya po minabuti ko na lamang na hindi na dumalo sa Senior Leaders Conference," she said.

[Translation: It wouldn't be right; the Philippine Army doesn't deserve to be criticized. That's why I decided not to attend the Senior Leaders Conference.]

Uson, who is accused of spreading fake news and encouraging dissent, said she was honored by the invitation but did not want it to be at the army's expense.

"Grabe po ang naging reaksiyon ng ilang netizens. Grabe po ang pambabatikos at pag-bash sa Philippine Army. Ang mga sundalo natin ang nasa mga liblib na lugar sa ating bansa, nagsasakripisyo ng buhay at dugo para sa atin. Our soldiers do not deserve this bashing," she said.

[Translation: Some of the netizens were overreacting. Their criticism of the Philippine Army was too much. Our soldiers go to our country's peripheries and sacrifice their life and blood for us. Our soldiers do not deserve this bashing]

The Senior Leaders' Conference promotes awareness of security challenges through discussions with speakers from various disciplines. Uson, who has nearly five million likes on her Facebook page, was invited to speak on "The Challenges of a Social Media Personality."

But some netizens were angered after she posted the invitation on Facebook on March 13 as proof against allegations she was spreading fake news.

The post, which can no longer be found on her page, was met with opposition from critics who felt the controversial blogger lacked the credibility to speak at the event.

Although Uson will not show up, she said she would still share her knowledge with the armed forces.

"Magse-share din po ako ng aking point of view hinggil sa social media. Ang topic po kasi na binigay sa akin ay 'Challenges of a Social Media Personality.' Ibabahagi ko po ang ilang punto na sa tingin ko po ay nakatulong para sa social media engagement ng Philippine Army," she said.

[Translation: I will still share my point of view about social media. The topic they gave me was 'Challenges of a social media personality.' I will share some points I believe will help the Philippine Army's social media engagement.]

The AFP, meanwhile, said Uson informed them of her decision in a letter sent Monday.

In a statement issued Tuesday, they said they respected Uson's decision, and will instead give the time for her 15-minute talk to two other resource speakers.