PCO denies having troll farms, keyboard warriors

The Presidential Communications Office (PCO) denied on Monday, Sept. 18 that it has troll farms or troll armies in the agency. 


PCO Cheloy Garafil.jpg

Secretary Cheloy Vlicaria Garafil briefs senators on the proposed 2024 budget of the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) and its attached agencies and corporations amounting to P1.79-billion during the Senate finance subcommittee hearing on Monday, Sept. 18, 2023. (Senate PRIB Photo) 


"For the record, Mr. Chair, wala po kaming troll (we have no trolls). No troll farm, no troll army," PCO Secretary Cheloy Garafil said during the budget deliberations of the Senate Committee on Finance fiscal year 2024.

This is in response to the question of Sen. Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito regarding the investigation made by senators during the previous congress on reports that public funds are being spent on troll farms that spread misinformation through social media.

Ejercito specifically mentioned 1,479 contractual employees allegedly being used as trolls.

"Mr. Chair, mayroon lang po kaming 363 employees sa PCO (We only have 363 employees in the PCO)," Garafil said.

She also mentioned addressing fake news is one the priorities of the PCO since she assumed office last year, wherein they thought of providing at least one program for it.

"As you can see kami rin naging biktima at patunay na nagiging biktima ng fake news (we are also fallling victims and continuously becoming victims of fake news)," she stated.

Meanwhile, the Senate finance subcommittee has approved the PCO's budget proposal of P1.9 billion which will be endorsed to the plenary. 

Presenting its financial performance for Fiscal Year 2023, Garafil reported that the agency has disbursed 96.60 percent. 

Ejercito also asked if the obligation rate of the agency improved. Garafil replied that The bottleneck of the unobligated funds is the two projects that are still under construction, namely the Visayas Media Hub and the one in Bukidnon.

"There were delays, meron din problema sa weather, dun sa soil erosion din. So, madami problema (there were a lot of problems)," she said.

Yet she assured Ejercito that the projects are almost 60 to 70 percent complete and that they are hoping to finish them before the year ends.