The month of June was declared the National ICT Month by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 1521,s. 2008. In line with this, the Office of the President has once again celebrated this event with a Knowledge-Sharing Exercise. This activity was spearheaded by the Management Information Service (MIS) Office.

In the past few years, we have seen the emerging power of Social Media as a tool for information and communication throughout the world. Hence, as we hold our continuing information activity, OP-MIS has chosen a theme that is considered relevant and significant at this point in ICT evolution, “The Responsible Use of Social Media in the Government Workplace”.

The activity was divided into two sessions, the morning and afternoon sessions. In the morning, two resource speakers were presented. The first speaker was from the Civil Service Commission (CSC) which was represented by Director Noel V. Salumbides– OP CSC Field Office. Dir. Salumbides talked about the topic “Insights on CSC Internal Policies on the Use of Social Media”. He has expounded on the basic rule that an employee should never use any government working hours for any personal purpose, more so to post anything scandalous and offensive to other readers. He stated that social media should be an efficient tool in raising services delivery excellence in the public sector and not as a productivity killer. They are still in the process of improving CSC’s policies on the use of social media.

Afterwards, Assistant Secretary Pocholo Goitia from the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) discussed the topic “Government and Social Media.” He cited the creation of the Official Gazette as an online platform wherein information on the day to day activities of the President can be accessed easily by the public, as well as his speeches, newly signed laws among other information, when in earlier times it was done in prints. It serves as the online newspaper for the government. He also discussed on how the government can utilize the social media in information dissemination especially in emergency situations such as calamities. It can also serve as a help desk to answer queries and exchanges of information in the quickest way possible. Asec. Goitia stated that you should “conduct yourself online as you would in real life”. In essence, government employees should set higher standards when using the social media by treating it with decency and respect for other users.

In the afternoon, our first speaker was Mr. Ronald P. Aguto Jr. –Cybercrime Division Head of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). He talked about the “Cybercrime Situation in the Country, the DO’s and DON’Ts”. As we use and integrate ICT and internet in our lives, a crime is most likely to be committed in the cyberspace. The speaker has discussed the different provisions of the Cybercrime Act. He also stated that the NBI and PNP have the exclusive task to investigate and handle cybercrime cases. They are mandated to organize a cybercrime unit or center manned by special investigators.

 To show how social media is playing an important role in the exercise of their agencies’ mandates, Police Superintendent Ms. Nieves A. de la Pena, Assistant Chief, Public Information Division of the Phil. National Police (PNP) followed through and talked about the topic “PNP Social Media: Experiences and Lessons. She has discussed how the police force was able to effectively catch criminals through concerned citizens reporting crimes using the Facebook and Twitter. The last speaker was from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) represented by Ms. Ria Anne S. Rubia, Head, MMDA Twitter and Traffic Navigator Team. She has discussed the topic “MMDA and the Social Media Engagement”. A few years back, MMDA came up with an application where the public could monitor the traffic situation in the Metro thus avoiding the congested areas. The objective is to give motorists advance information so that they could save on time and fuel. Netizens help to spread the information through social media.

To sum it up, they all have given us information and insights on how the social media has become a welcome development in the exercise of their agencies’ mandates and instilled awareness in its proper use especially in a government workplace.

PLDT, Smart, Globe and Sun were also present as exhibitors. They have presented the latest technology in their products and services as well as Canon Philippines, who also espouses and encourages the active uploading of Philippine’s beautiful tourist destinations as a social response to the Dept. of Tourism’s appeal for netizens to help promote our country as a tourist destination. It has been generous by providing us with a Photo Booth every year.  Participants had fun having their photos taken and developed in a minute’s time.

The event was attended by almost 200 participants from different OP offices. OP-MIS profoundly thank all the participants for a good feedback and hoping to present a better and enhanced KSE next year.