MANILA – Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar’s technocratic leadership has given many opportunities for PCOO and its attached agencies to undertake reforms and improvement in terms of delivering information to the public.
In an interview, Secretary Andanar discussed how institutional reforms and new proactive policies strengthened its agencies’ support for government responses and programs. These were necessary improvements needed to upgrade the quality of service provided by government media.
“As a technocrat joining the government, I really believe that it is a mandate to report to the people the accomplishments of the government. I share the vision of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) that ‘an informed citizenry, is an empowered, enlightened citizenry’. Informing the public should not be done by agencies on their own,” he said.
He stressed that the rollout of the Duterte Legacy communications campaign is a strategy to allow Filipinos to make a sound decision in choosing the next leader of the country. The said policy was discussed in both Congress and the Senate and it was approved.
“Now that it’s here, I am very hopeful that this policy will continue in the next administration, as well. I believe that this is really imperative. It’s like any company that needs monitoring and reporting. These will allow you to assess your accomplishments,” he said.
“It can also be a source for feedback that will help assure you, otherwise if you do not have monitoring in anything you do, then you wouldn’t know if what you’re doing is correct, or if you’re accomplishing anything based on your annual planning,” he added.
The PCOO chief went on to discuss that this is another way to divert the way the Philippines is reported, which is often focused on the situation in Metro Manila. This is on top of establishing media hubs outside the National Capital Region (NCR), and strengthening the capacities of the Philippine Information Agency in informing the people down to the grassroots.
Another notable policy of the PCOO is the Laging Handa Crisis Communication campaign which started in 2016.
He noted that this initiative prepared and enhanced reporting of government media in times of crisis, especially during this pandemic. It has streamlined the process of reporting for all PCOO attached agencies and likewise unified its messaging and content.
“We were able to establish the Laging Handa Crisis Communications policy in 2016 and we’ve been practicing it on a crisis basis. The COVID-19 pandemic happened last year and it has been active since then,” he said.
This initiative allowed government media to gain the cooperation of private media, allowing government programs to be streamed in their respective channels and airwaves for the sake of informing the people about the pandemic. This was through the help of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP).
“In the history of the Philippines, this is the first time that both public and private media joined hands to provide relevant information that the public needs. This is the reason why we were able to cascade information from the Department of Health and the World Health Organization immediately.” Secretary Andanar said.