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Fake news plagues ARMM officials

COTABATO CITY—A top port official of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is alarmed over the apparent “propagation” of misinformation ostensibly designed to destroy him and other regional officials.

Maguindanao port manager Hexsan Mabang said text messages apparently designed to generate “adverse media” circulated on his first week in office on Wednesday as concurrent ARMM regional port manager.

Mabang said “fake news posts on spurious Facebook accounts” started hitting him hard when ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman designated him to lead all six ports in the region’s five provinces.

One text message purports that Mabang was “meeting miners in Davao City to collect money from (them),” and that Hataman should investigate [him].” 

“But what is there to ‘collect’ for the Maguindanao port when clearly there is neither a mining operation nor shipping of ores or extracts from the province?” Mabang asked.

Mabang said some people may have laced malice on fact that Maguindanao tops the region’s ports in terms of revenue collection, pegged at P30 million in the third quarter of 2017, as well as self-sustained maintenance and rehabilitation of old facilities of the 40-year-old Polloc Port in Parang, Maguindanao.

Faceless Facebook accounts and anonymous text messages slandering officials are not new in ARMM. It was discussed in a forum with Manila-based journalists in April 2012, or years before misinformation became a widespread concern on social media.

Mabang noted that while Hataman requires high standards for promotion, some faceless individuals do damage to ARMM’s reform gains on fake news.

He said he did not apply for the top regional port post, adding he was focused on maintaining or improving revenue collection levels, the port’s maintenance, and the rehabilitation of Maguindanao’s Polloc Port. 

Topics: Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao , officials , Fake news
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