This is in response to the list of “fake news” sites published by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) which included GetRealPhilippines.com. We did not respond to this initially because we thought it was too ridiculous to be taken seriously. The lack of a sound basis and coherent set of criteria applied to coming up with this list led us to assume that people would not easily fall for this propaganda stunt.
Evidently, however, we underestimated the influence these men in robes exert on many Filipinos as we had, in the last few days, been receiving requests to comment on our inclusion in this list. Many of these requests come from university students that had seemingly been instructed by their teachers to write papers on “fake news” sites and had used the CBCP list as reference for their work.
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It is quite interesting that in this day and age when information is so easily accessible that Filipinos continue to rely on an antiquated institution that has, for centuries, sought to suppress the evolution of society from one imprisoned by ignorance and superstition to one enlightened by science and evidence-based problem solving. The CBCP has exhibited neither the transparency nor the humility to subject itself to the same critical scrutiny that Filipinos demand that their other leaders be subject to. The hypocrisy in the way the CBCP conducts itself and regards the public in this regard is nothing short of astounding.
It should be noted that the CBCP list included only sites perceived to be critical of the Liberal Party and the broader Opposition to the government of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. No sites associated with the Opposition camps were included in this list. This is particularly relevant today in light of recent revelations surrounding certain characters associated with the Yellow and Liberal Party camps alleged to be orchestrating the operations of a large number of anonymous sites many of which are known publishers of unfounded opinions, downright false information, and even seditious material meant to undermine the Philippine government and slander it before a global audience. The people behind these treacherous disinformation campaigns should be held accountable for the damage they had done to the welfare of the Philippine state. More importantly, Filipinos should demand that the CBCP, at the very least, reveal the process with which it decided which sites to include in its “fake news” list.
GetRealPhilippines.com is not a “fake news” site. How can it be when we do not even presume to be a producer of news? What we do publish are opinions. Our work is subject to public scrutiny and our comment threads are open to anyone who wishes to challenge the positions any of our writers take on any issue. We have yet to see anyone successfully debunk any of our views and discredit any position we have taken. Nonetheless we continue to encourage all who find our views disagreeable to prove us wrong. We are one of the oldest political sites in the Philippines. Our longevity attests to the strength of our brand as a trusted source of insights on Philippine society. We were a blog long before posting on Facebook was referred to as “blogging”.
To those who are quick to believe certain “thought leaders” who insist that the CBCP are right to include us in a document no different to those medieval lists of banned books they hold a tradition of issuing over the last 1000 years, we ask that you challenge yourselves to be better than that. Be better than what mainstream media profiles you as. Be better than the politicians who expect you to vote for the same status quo that has not served Filipinos well over and over again.
Most important of all, be better than what those men in robes in the CBCP think you are.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.