Blogger-turned-government official Mocha Uson vows to fight fake news

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 11) — Newly-appointed Malacañang communications operations official Mocha Uson promises to combat the spread of fake news on social media.

Uson said her goal was to bring ordinary Filipinos closer to the government in her role as Assistant Secretary in the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

"Ang ating pong tututukan sa PCOO ay ang mailapit ang mga ordinaryong Pilipino sa pamahalaan sa pamamagitan ng social media," she said in her Facebook page, Mocha Uson Blog. "At ma-idiretso ang tamang balita sa ating kababayan sa pamamagitan ng social media," she added.

Uson added it is time to stop the spread of fake news allegedly perpetrated by some mainstream media.

Social media is a source of news, with Facebook claiming it registers 59 million users monthly in the Philippines.

Filipinos also spend a full half-hour longer on social media each day than users in second-placed Brazil, according to a 2017 study by Hootsuite and digital research and marketing agency We Are Social. 

Celebrity blogger Uson, who supported President Rodrigo Duterte during his presidential campaign, commands a following of more than five million on social media with an active engagement rate online.

She was appointed on Tuesday to the post of Assistant Secretary by Duterte, a move that drew mostly negative reactions from critics of the President, who regard Uson and her blog as a conduit for so-called fake news.

Duterte on Wednesday defended her. "There's nothing wrong with the woman or the girl. She's bright, she's articulate," he said in a media briefing before his departure for Cambodia.

"She was with me during the campaign. A little bit sexier than the others. But that does not prevent anybody to deprive her of the honors that she deserves," the President added.

Uson acknowledged criticism even from Duterte supporters that she was unqualified for the position.

"Sa mga nagsasabi nanaman po na hindi po tayo qualified sa PCOO, tama po kayo mas maraming matatalino at magagaling po diyan, kaya akin pong pagsusumikapan ng doble ang trabaho po natin sa PCOO," she said in a separate Facebook post.

[Translation: "To those who say that I am not qualified for the PCOO, you are right that there are others more intelligent and better than I am, so I will double my efforts at the PCOO."]

Related: Bb. Pilipinas Int'l criticizes Mocha Uson appointment, gets cyberbullied

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Uson said she will also focus on the plight of overseas Filipino workers.

"Ang kailangan ko pong pagtuunan ng pansin ay ang mga nangangailangan ng tulong, lalo na 'yung mga OFWs natin," she said.

[Translation: "We should give due attention to those who need our help, especially our Overseas Filipino Workers."'