By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Communications Assistant Secretary JV Arcena asked followers of the official Instagram account of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) to disregard any present activity found on the said page after it was hacked by still unknown individuals late Tuesday afternoon.
In a statement, Arcena decried the act and said they started coordinating with Facebook to resolve the matter as soon as possible.
“We decry the malicious act by unknown individuals who hacked the Presidential Communications Operations Office’s Instagram Page, with the handle @pcoogov,” he said Wednesday morning.
“We are now looking into this matter and have coordinated with Facebook to resolve it immediately,” he added.
The former broadcast journalist, meanwhile, asked the public to disregard the Arabic posts uploaded by the hackers on PCOO’s Instagram profile.
“The account has been locked by Facebook’s team so that hackers will no longer be able to use the account. In the meantime, we ask our followers to disregard any present and future activities on our Instagram page, until such time that the matter is resolved,” Arcena said.
The PCOO’s Instagram account was hacked “18 hours ago” or around 5 p.m. Tuesday based on the two videos uploaded on the said page. Instagram stories of the said page also bore the same timestamp.
The videos and Instagram stories found on the page, which had almost 19,000 followers as of press time, were all in Arabic. The first Instagram story had the “Kuwait” stamp on it.
One video had the sign “King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival,” a festival that spotlights Saudi Arabia’s cultural heritage, with camels having played an important part in Arab life down the ages. The last festival was held on November 1, 2019.
The page’s official bio was also changed to “لطامات الصفر” or “Scratches for scratches” when translated using Google Translate.
Recently, the government issued a partial deployment ban on Filipino workers to Kuwait following the death of Jeanalyn Villavende supposedly in the hands of her employer. President Duterte likewise said he would side with America if Filipinos in the Middle East would be affected by Iran’s retaliation against the United States.