MANILA- The Senate on Tuesday concluded the plenary debates on the proposed ₱5.024-trillion national budget for 2022, and approved the proposed P1.63-billion budget for the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and its attached agencies.
Included in the proposed budget under the PCOO proper are the operationalization of the Government Communication Academy with construction currently underway in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon; procurement of new ICT equipment and software; and continuing the implementation and campaign for the Freedom of Information Program.
Secretary Andanar thanked the upper chamber for passing PCOO’s 2022 appropriations.During the session, Senator Richard Gordon and Senator Franklin Drilon accepted the assurance given by Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar that PCOO’s more than 1,400 contract of service workers are not online trolls.
Secretary Andanar likewise raised two thumbs up during the session in response to Sen. Gordon’s request to certify the said assurance.
“He’s [Sen. Drilon] willing to take the word of Secretary Andanar and Undersecretary Ablan,” Sen. Gordon said.
The PCOO chief on Tuesday also apologized for the deferment of the approval of the 2022 appropriations before the Senate budget deliberation online over the supposed inappropriate etiquette by a personnel of Apo Production Unit on Monday night.
Secretary Andanar stressed that professionalism during official transactions are strictly instilled among personnel, including events and engagements held virtually.
“Any lapses in appropriate conduct or courtesy will never be condoned, as we in the PCOO and our attached agencies are committed to the highest standards of professionalism in all instances,” he said during the Tuesday session with the legislators.
On Monday, the Senate deferred the budget deliberation for PCOO’s proposed 2022 budget after Senator Sherwin Gatchalian called out Dominic Tajon, Sales and Marketing Manager of APO Production Unit, for allegedly drinking while in session. APO is an attached agency under the PCOO.
“Our apologies to the Senate, in this juncture, we reflect our sincere assurance that any such behavior that shows discourtesy will never be deliberately observed by any of our personnel in any situation, as it is detrimental to the PCOO, its attached agencies, our core values, and our government partners,” he added.
Mr. Tajon already submitted a letter to the Senate explaining his side, where he explained his perceived disrespectful conduct.
Tajon also denied imbibing liquor or any fermented drink during the session, and clarified that he “had a sip of cola in a water goblet”.
“Certainly, I could not have done such an unethical act knowing that I am participating in a session before the Honorable Senate. With my responsibility as a resource person in mind and always putting the Honorable Senate in high regard, I would not do such a reprehensible act during the plenary session,” his letter read.
“Rest assured that I would not make the same mistake again, I sincerely apologize to the honorable Senate for the disruption and inconvenience I may have caused in the subject plenary session,” he added.