The state-owned People’s Television Network (PTV) is investigating a social media post that used the hashtag #DutertePalpak (Duterte is a failure) instead of the President’s surname.
PTV issued the statement after a tweet about President Duterte’s directive to provide the public with free face masks bore the hashtag that was used by critics of the administration to mark the first year of the coronavirus lockdown.
“President Rodrigo R. #dutertepalpak BTS reiterated his order to provide free masks for the public especially to those who cannot buy their own,” the tweet made at 7:24 p.m. on March 16 read.
In a statement, PTV recognized the now-deleted “malicious” tweet that quickly circulated and announced an inquiry to get to the bottom of the blunder.
“At around 7:00 p.m., a post of PTV on Twitter circulated with the wrong hashtag which was never in the original caption which reads: ‘President Rodrigo R. Duterte reiterated his order to provide free face masks for the public especially to those who cannot buy their own,’” the network’s statement read.
“PTV is currently investigating the intent behind this malicious post. Our apologies,” it added.
The #DutertePalpak hashtag trended on social media on the first day of the lockdown Monday, March 15, as the Philippines faced a spike in new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases amid new and more contagious variants of the virus spreading in the country.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque was quick to deny that the Duterte administration failed in addressing the pandemic, blaming the fast-rising number of cases on the nature of viruses to mutate.
According to Roque, who recently contracted the virus, the government was actually doing a good job until the surge of cases happened.
“Well, until sumipa po ang mga kaso natin (the number of cases surged), we were really doing a very good job– an excellent job,” he said on Monday.
“Mapapansin po natin na itong pagtaas, kailan lang po talaga nangyari ito, mga nakalipas na araw (You will notice that the surge of cases only happened recently),” he added.
Despite this, the Palace official said no one was to blame for the country’s situation.