State-run People’s Television Network or PTV-4 made another gaffe, this time including a hashtag criticizing the administration and popular South Korean boy group BTS, in a now-deleted tweet.
The station’s Twitter account on Tuesday night shared a story published on its website featuring President Rodrigo Duterte‘s renewed order for the government to provide free face masks to Filipinos amid the surge of COVID-19 cases.
The caption was supposed to read as “President Rodrigo R. Duterte reiterated his order to provide free masks for the public especially to those who cannot buy their own.”
However, it was tweeted as “President Rodrigo R. #dutertepalpak BTS reiterated his order to provide free masks for the public especially to those who cannot buy their own.”
Reports said that the tweet was up on PTV’s account “for around 40 minutes” before it was taken down.
Based on screenshots by Interaksyon, it was shared on the microblogging platform at 7:24 p.m.
PTV-4 issued a statement at 9:19 p.m. and said that the “wrong hashtag” was “never in the original caption.”
“PTV is currently investigating the intent behind this malicious post. Our apologies,” it added.
It didn’t mention anything about BTS, which enters local Twitter’s top trending list from time to time due to its huge fanbase.
The original story and caption reads:
"President Rodrigo R. Duterte reiterated his order to provide free masks for the public especially to those who cannot buy their own."
— PTVph (@PTVph) March 16, 2021
On Wednesday morning, the state-run network explained that the “erroneous message” was a result of “predictive systems in the text entry and a failure to adequately review and screen the message that actually got posted.”
“PTV New Media deeply regrets the error and take full responsibility for the oversight. The management will certainly institute disciplinary actions against members of the social media team who are behind the erroneous posting.”
— PTVph (@PTVph) March 17, 2021
The hashtag “#DutertePalpak” trended on Twitter earlier this week as some Filipinos looked back on how the administration has been handling the COVID-19 pandemic a year after being placed in community quarantine.”
“Palpak” is a Filipino word for “failure.”
Last Monday, the country marked the first anniversary of the community quarantine in Metro Manila. On the other hand, Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine, the strictest of the lockdown phases exactly a year ago.
Fast forward to this year, the country has been seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases amid the presence of new variants.
Hard lockdowns have also made a comeback, albeit in granular form. Curfews were similarly imposed over the metro.
Only those aged 18-65 years old will be allowed out of their homes in a bid to reduce the public’s mobility outside their homes.
The Palace responded by saying that the government was doing an “excellent job” until the new variants entered the country.
Error after error?
This was not the first time that the state-run network has committed errors noticed by the public.
Last year, PTV-4 aired a television report about Sarangani reefs by reporting it as “reeps” on a news crawler.
It also erroneously displayed a picture of former president Emilio Aguinaldo instead of revolutionary hero Andres Bonifacio when it talked about the background of the Philippine Revolution which was led by the latter.
In 2018, the network used a photoshopped image of a Chinese ship to support its video report on Duterte’s plan to deploy a Navy frigate to Libya.
One of PTV’s mandates under Republic Act 7306, amended under Republic Act 10390, is “to ensure that the programs broadcast by the Network maintain a high general standard in all respects.”
It added that the particular standard should be maintained with “respect to their content and quality and proper balance of educational, news, public affairs, entertainment, and sports programs.”
The network’s function is “to serve primarily as a vehicle for the State for purposes of education, science and technology, arts, culture, and sports in order to foster national pride and identity.”