SENATE ‘CONDITIONALLY’ APPROVES PROPOSED 2019 PCOO BUDGET
PCOO 2019 BUDGET. Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito (inset) presides over the deliberations on the proposed FY 2019 budget of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and its attached agencies headed by Secretary Jose Ruperto Martin Marfori Andanar (left) during the budget hearing at the Senate in Pasay City on Monday (Nov. 12, 2018). (Photo by Avito C. Dalan/PNA)
MANILA — The Senate Finance Sub-Committee “F” on Monday “conditionally” approved the PHP1.47-billion proposed 2019 budget of the Presidential Communications Operations office (PCOO) and its attached agencies, pending the issuance of an executive order (EO) that would revert the PCOO to the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS).
Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, the panel chair, made the announcement after PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar briefed the Senate on the preparations being made for the transition to the OPS.
Andanar said his office is instituting reforms while waiting for President Rodrigo Duterte to sign the EO.
One of them is the preparation of a transition team that would pave the way for a smooth transition once the EO is signed.
“Second reform is the setting up of the Global Media Affairs Division (GMAD). This new division would it easier for us to transition and revert the entire office to the OPS,” Andanar said.
Under the GMAD, Andanar said press attachés would be revived and established in select Philippine embassies around the world.
Among the countries being considered for the deployment of press attaches are the United States, the United Kingdom, Paris, Israel, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Thailand and Singapore.
Except for the revival of press attachés, Andanar said he sees little problem in reverting the PCOO to the OPS since the offices and attached agencies would be “more or less” similar.
“The major difference would be the Secretary. The Press Secretary would be the (Presidential) spokesperson,” he said.
In an interview after the budget hearing, Ejercito said he is in favor of reverting the PCOO to the old OPS, especially the revival of press attaché offices in Philippine embassies.
The lawmaker said the role of press attachés is vital, especially in communicating the official position of the government to the international media.
“For several decades, wala tayong (we have no) press attachés. But since we are reverting to the old OPS sinuggest na rin na buhayin ito (it was suggested to revive this) to improve country’s image, investor’s confidence. Matagal tayong walangpresence kasi wala tayong taga-sagot (It has been a long time that we don’t have presence because we don’t have press attaches) especially in international media,” Ejercito said. (PNA)