SECRETARY Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) assailed the New York (NY) Times for its articles that are unfavorable to President Rodrigo Duterte and his war on illegal drugs.

“They only report the lies. We call that fake news. Like Richard Paddock of the New York Times. He wrote something about the President,” Andanar said in a speech during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Nations (Asean)-PCOO Roadshow Friday, March 24.

“It’s obvious that he wrote it just to throw negativity against the President,” Andanar said.

The New York Times article, entitled “Becoming Duterte: The Making of a Philippine Strongman,” detailed Duterte’s rise to power. It was published on March 21.

The lead of the piece said: “President Rodrigo Duterte relishes the image of killer-savior. He boasts of killing criminals with his own hand. On occasion, he calls for mass murder.”

Andanar said the job of the PCOO is to combat “fake news.”

“We all know that the report of Western media is not true. They reported that 7,000 people were victims of extrajudicial killings, but the Philippine National Police reported only 2,000,” he said.

“Who would you believe, the police or the Western media?” he asked the crowd, who answered the former.

Andanar said the problem with Western media is that they are not open to the change Duterte is doing.

“Are we okay that they are treating us that way? We only have one country, one flag. We have to take care of our country,” he added.

An excerpt of the NY Times article said: “Still, the bodies have been piling up. Since Mr. Duterte took office last June and declared a ‘war’ on drugs, the police and unknown assassins have killed more than 3,600 people, the police say, mostly in the slums of Philippine cities. Some put the toll at more than 7,000.”

The NY Times added that the President declined to grant an interview for the article.

Moreover, Andanar said that “we have to stand up for ourselves...without interference from other countries,” as he cited the European Union, which called on the administration to investigate its war on drugs.

“We have our own problem, they have theirs. They should mind their own business before minding other people’s business,” he said.

In a press conference, Andanar said the government and its Asean counterparts will come up with a collective decision or a multilateral agreement on how to combat fake news.

Amid the controversies the administration is facing, Andanar assured the Negrenses that the government will strive to achieve peace and order, eliminate corruption, alleviate poverty and other goals of the President.

“My appeal to our brothers here in Bacolod City and the neighboring cities is continue to support the programs and aspirations of the President because everything that we do is change for the betterment of our country and citizenry,” he said.

He also noted that the President has asked his allies to stop the impeachment complaint against Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo.

“It is an indication that the President is a man of law and a President who respects and who believes that the mandate given to them should be respected. We should be working together as one nation so we can better deliver the services that the public needs,” he said.

Meanwhile, Andanar said the roadshow brings the Office of the President to the grassroots level and shows that the administration is serious in decentralizing the government.