“Battle to control public opinion will worsen in 2018”, said Msgr. Pedro C. Quitorio, Director of CBCP Media Office, in his talk entitled “2017 Trends and 2018 Projections” on the 6th Catholic Social Media Summit (CSMSv6) held at Siena College, Quezon City on November 18, 2017.
But at the same time, he forecasts 2018 to see a rise in positive advocacy sites and Catholic content as CBCP leads the building up of websites which reflect Catholic values, one of the church’s strategies-done-right when it comes to “Dispelling the Darkness in Social Media”, CSMSv6’s theme for this year.
“Lalaban tayo!”, Msgr. Quitorio encouraged CSMSv6 attendees composed of young professionals, communicators, priests, and religious. He said that giving people more and better alternatives is a powerful way to battle pseudo news agencies, armies of keyboard warriors with their own propaganda, internet trolls and bots.
Keynote speaker, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, of the Diocese of Caloocan, stated that, “if we just listen to them (soundbites) and not react to them, they become gospel truth because the people who say them are in authority.” Bishop Pablo, was formerly a hesitant and passive onlooker but now uses “Social Media as a New Forum for Empathy and Truth”, his keynote address’ very own topic.
He started posting in his Facebook account inspiring stories, reflections, the environment, gospel, his homilies, and Youtube link of their show, “Men of Light”. When killings became rampant in his diocese and the rest of the country, he started posting his viral reactions, too, to the issue.
Bishop David had been a subject of several news in mainstream media when he didn’t mince words about the government’s “brutal drug war”, highlighted when the Secretary of Justice threatened to sue him for allegedly serving as obstruction of justice when the father of a witness on 17-year old Kian Loyd delos Santos slay chose to ran to the church for his child’s protection.
He then urged the attendees to be fearless and prepared for character assassination, slander and hurtful words when speaking out the truth.
“Labas-masok ang mga mamamatay tao. Wala silang takot. Kailangan yung nasa panig ng kabutihan, mas malakas ang loob!”
Regarding the bashing and fake news targeted at him, Bishop Pablo has this to say. “You don’t even have to defend yourself. Just post the truth. Truth hurts but sets people free. Kaya lang, it makes them miserable.”
Other speakers in CSMSv6 were Michele Alignay, (co-author of “Growing Up Wired”), Fr. Jade Licuanan (Commissioner on Youth Archdiocese of Manila), Fr. Amado Picardal, CSsR (Executive Secretary of CBCP Episcopal Committee on Basic Ecclesial Communities), Atty. Elijo Sharon Herrera-Bellones (Professor, College of Law of the University of San Agustin), and Anna Cosio (blogger of “The Pinay Millenial”). Social media influencers and bloggers Beng Feliciano (The Parenting Emporium), Mitzi Barrios (Top Knotters), Tina Rodriguez (Truly Rich and Blessed), and Fr. Jeffrey Segovia (Kabataang Katoliko) were also interviewed.
During the panel discussion, Msgr. Quitorio added that there is no darkness in social media – there is darkness in society. “Social media is just a tool.” The key is to “exercise your Christianity” whether in social media or in the real world.
CSMSv6 was followed by Catholic Social Media Awards 2017, an award-giving body which recognizes the best communicators of Catholic content throughout various social media platforms.