New PNP spokesman Bulalacao to fight fake news, propaganda

MANILA, Philippines – Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, the new spokesperson of the Philippine National Police (PNP), vows to fight fake news and propaganda under his term.

"We should be able to help the public in distinguishing truth from propaganda, facts from fake news, objectivity and impartiality from sensationalism. 'Yun ang gusto ko lang ipaabot sa inyo ngayong umaga (That's what I want to tell you this morning)," Bulalacao told reporters on Wednesday, January 31, during his turnover ceremony in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Bulalacao assumed his office a day after the issue of fake news was tackled in the Senate, in aid of crafting laws to prevent online misinformation. (READ: Propaganda war: Weaponizing the internet)

As the new chief of the PNP Public Information Office (PIO), Bulalacao will oversee the dissemination of press releases, conduct of briefings, and interviews related to PNP national offices.

Asked what information management policies he will craft for the PNP, Bulalacao said he has yet to study the issue of deception through free speech fully.

His assumption as the PNP's new spokesman comes two days after the PNP relaunched its controversial anti-illegal drugs project Oplan Tokhang.

During the interrupted runs of the PNP's war on drugs, the PNP PIO has been the unifying voice of the embattled 190,000-strong police force — from the rise of "extrajudicial killings" up to the controversial teen killings in Caloocan City last year.

Bulalacao replaced Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos, who has been assigned to head the PNP Aviation Security Group based in Pasay City.

Dela Rosa's longtime colleague

After the turnover ceremony of Bulalacao, no less than PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa paid a visit to the PNP PIO office, where journalists also work on their stories.

During his stay, Dela Rosa fielded questions by reporters on why he appointed Bulalacao. The top cop said it was because his new spokesman had humble beginnings just like him.

"Alam ko anak ng mahirap ito eh. Galing ito sa mahirap na pamilya, sanay sa hirap, sanay magtiis. So 'yung patience niya sa different personalities ng media community, madali siyang mag-adapt," Dela Rosa shared to reporters.

(I know that he had poor parents. He came from a poor family. He's used to hardship. He's used to enduring. So, his patience can easily adapt to the different personalities of the media community.)

"Mahirap 'yung mayaman na spokesman, hindi niya feel yung mga intricacies
ng mga buhay sa kalsada (It's difficult to have a rich spokesman, he does not know the intricacies of the life in the streets)," Dela Rosa added.

Dela Rosa and Bulalacao go way back. They first met at the Philippine Military Academy when Bulalacao was a plebe (first year) and Dela Rosa a 'cow' (third year) cadet.

"Kadete pa ito kilala ko na ito, amiable personality and madaling dalhin (I know him back when he was a cadet. He has an amiable personality and is easy to work with)," Dela Rosa said. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

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