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Sen. Bam Aquino to seek reelection, says unfazed by social media attacks

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By Hannah Torregoza

Opposition Senator Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV on Friday said he remains unfazed even with the upsurge of fake quotes and disinformation being hurled against him, saying he remains steadfast to work on reforms that uplift Filipino families.

Senator Bam Aquino answers questions from members of the media during the breakfast forum, 'Kapihan sa Senado' at the Office of the Senate in Pasay City on Thursday. Senator Bam Aquino along with Senator Antonio Trillanes IV were recently tagged by DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre that they were involved with the Maute in Marawi Siege. (JAY GANZON)

Senator Bam Aquino (JAY GANZON / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Aquino, who is seeking another six-year term in the Senate in the upcoming May 2019 elections, said he expects the fake news and black propaganda against him to intensify in the run-up to next year’s polls but vowed to work harder to dispel these lies.

“Hindi naman nawawala ang fake news sa akin, at titindi pa ang pagbaha ng paninira ngayong palapit na ang halalan. (We’ve always been the subject of fake news, and we expect this to get worse when the elections draw near),” Aquino said.

“Ngunit may mga mas mahalgang isyu ang mga Pilipino na kailangan pang solusyunan, tulad ng matinding pagtaas ng presyo ng bilihin. (But Filipinos are still faced with so many important issues, like the current inflation and the rising prices of goods, and we need to find solutions for these),” said the senator.

Aquino said he is resolute to work hard as a senator and pursue legislative reforms aimed at ensuring the welfare of the Filipino masses.

“Gusto ko lang magtrabaho at magsulong ng mga reporma na makakatulong sa pamilyang Pilipino. (I just want to work and pursue reforms that would help the Filipino family),” said Aquino.

Aquino has been instrumental in the passage of 27 laws during his first term as senator; including the law granting free college education to which he is principal sponsor.

Recently, several Facebook groups have posted fake quotes and misinformation about Aquino seemingly designed to deceive the public as they were placed beside logos of legitimate news organizations.

According to the lawmaker, these legitimate news organizations have already called out the quotes and photos as fake.

“Baka sa 80 percent na fake news na nakikita ng mga Pilipino, malaki ang porsyento diyan tungkol sa akin, (I think 80 percent of the fake news that Filipinos see is about me),” the senator joked.

“Maging mapagbantay tayo sa pekeng balita at paglilinlang sa social media. Ang maaasahan niyo naman sa akin ay ang patuloy kong pagtrabaho sa mga reporma natin sa Senado, lalo na sa edukasyon, (Let us be vigilant against fake news and deception on social media. Rest assured I will continue my job and pursue reforms here in the Senate, especially in the area of education),” the senator said.

Recently, a Pulse Asia survey showed that 88 percent of Filipinos are aware of the proliferation of fake news on social media.

During his stint as chairman of the Senate committee on education, Aquino conducted a hearing on the responsible use of social media in schools to fight spread of fake news on social media.

During the Senate hearing, the senator urged the Department of Education (DepEd), and other stakeholders, to join forces in combating rampant trolling, hate speech and spread of misinformation online.

Aquino had also called on the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) to seriously tackle the problem of online disinformation and fake news sites.

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