The Ministry of Finance (DOF) on Tuesday justified a contract it recently concluded with consultant Nicanor Gabunada Jr., a communications official linked to several Facebook pages deleted due to “deceptive behavior”.
In a statement, the chief undersecretary of the DOF’s Nominations and Awards Committee (BAC) Gil Beltran said Gabunada had been asked to raise awareness of the remaining priority actions of the Duterte administration.
Gabunada “will help the DOF to develop a branding and communications strategy for the DOF to facilitate the early adoption of the remaining Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) packages as well as other priority government measures and to align communications. system-wide covering the DOF and its attached agencies. “
The Duterte administration previously considered four packages under the CTRP program. Among the tax measures already adopted are the tax reform for acceleration and inclusion (TRAIN) and the recovery of businesses and tax incentives for businesses (CREATE).
The DOF statement was released after Gabunada was awarded a six-month P 900,000 contract with the DOF, which will run from June 16 to December 15, based on a dated award notice. June 10.
Gabunada, who served as President Rodrigo Duterte’s social media campaign manager in the 2016 election, was linked to hundreds of social media pages deleted by Facebook in 2019.
Facebook’s cybersecurity policy officer Nathaniel Gleicher said in March 2019 that Gabunada had organized a network linked to a group of genuine and fake accounts used to generate posts on behalf of political candidates.
“The people behind the activity try to hide their identity and make them believe they are independent, but in fact our investigation was able to confirm that this was a group of coordinated behaviors related to to a network organized by Nic Gabunada, ”Gleicher explained. .
Gabunada, in response, said he did not organize the network and claimed that he did not disseminate false information and false information.
Malacanang also denied any involvement in the deleted Facebook pages.
Beltran defended the recent contract on Tuesday, as he claimed it didn’t mention any social media platforms being set up, but instead focused on communications.
In its statement, however, the DOF said Gabunada would help expand DOF communications on digital channels such as social media and its official website.
Its responsibilities are to “assist the DOF in the production and development of communication materials for television, print media and digital channels (social media and website), including identification and coordination with communication partners third party, if applicable. “
Beltran also defended Gabunada’s consulting fees of P 900,122.40, saying they are “reasonable for this type of highly technical service and in accordance with all procurement laws and rules.” – DVM, GMA News