ATI-CAR Joins ASEAN-PCOO Roadshow in Baguio City

 “Ang trabaho po talaga ng PCOO ay ihatid ang polisiya ng gobyerno sa masa, sa taumbayan, hindi lang po tagapagsalita on behalf of the President kundi on behalf of the entire government.” This was what Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Jose Ruperto Martin M. Andanar emphasized during the third leg of the ASEAN-PCOO Roadshow held in Baguio City. The event, which was attended by representatives from the media, local government units and regional line agencies aims to enhance awareness of stakeholders regarding the programs of the government through communication. Baguio City Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, who welcomed the guests and participants of the activity, thanked the PCOO for bringing the roadshow to the City. Secretary Andanar, in response, congratulated the Cordillera region for making the event as the most attended PCOO roadshow so far. The roadshow, which is now on its third leg, was launched on January 14, 2017 in Davao City while the second leg was held in Zamboanga City on January 29, 2017. The event was composed of a series of lectures, talks and question and answer sessions regarding the programs and advocacies of the government on information, communication, and the mass media including the Philippine chairmanship of the ASEAN for 2017.
 
PCOO Assistant Secretary for Policy and Legislative Affairs Michel Kristian R. Ablan jumpstarted the discussion through his introduction of the Executive Order Number 1 issued by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on July 23, 2016. The said EO, entitled “Operationalizing in the Executive Branch the People’s Constitutional Right to Information and the State Policies to Full Public Disclosure and Transparency in the Public Service and Providing Guidelines Thereof”, covers the entire executive branch including Government Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCC) and State Universities and Colleges (SUC). He emphasized that the EO is the best alternative that the Duterte administration can offer while awaiting a law on freedom of information to be passed by Congress. He further stressed that the EO “is an important enabling mechanism to promote transparency in the government’s administrative process. The EO empowers Filipinos to make a formal request to get information held by the government except sensitive information related to national security. The EO further compliments the continuing proactive information disclosure efforts where agencies are duty-bound to publish information in the spirit of openness and transparency.”
 
Another program that the PCOO would like to promote is the use of social media particularly in disaster management. Mr. Carlos Munda of the PCOO emphasized that social media, such as facebook, twitter and instagram, can be used by the government to respond faster and with a higher degree of precision to areas hit by calamity. He explained that the PCOO will be accrediting and training volunteer field reporters nationwide who will relay the occurrence of a disaster, its impact and other relevant information to the National Government through social media. Mr. Munda also invited the participants to apply or recommend others as volunteers for this endeavor.
 
The Philippine chairmanship of the ASEAN this 2017 is also one of the advocacies of the PCOO in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). Director Flerida Ann Camille P. Mayo of the DFA provided the delegates with an orientation on the ASEAN and the Philippine chairmanship of the ASEAN for 2017. Director Mayo emphasized that the ASEAN is banking on the “connectivity” between and among its member countries. She furthered that the ASEAN should not be viewed as a threat rather as an opportunity for everyone as she said that “ASEAN is yours, it’s ours.”
 
The advancement of the protection and welfare of the media is also a paramount agenda of the PCOO. PCOO Undersecretary Jose Joel Sy Ecgo presented Administrative Order Number 1 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on October 11, 2016. The AO calls for the creation of the “Presidential Task Force on Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of the Members of the Media.”  Usec. Ecgo in jest qualified that the media in the Philippines are identified with libel and death threats. He said, “hindi ka journalist  kung wala kang libel, hindi ka media kung wala kang death threat.” He emphasized that President Duterte, although had a short misunderstanding with the members of the Metro Manila media, still regard the welfare and safety of the media in the Philippines as vital to democracy, thus the issuance of the AO. Usec Ecgo also announced that the PCOO will be conducting a yearly media summit to monitor the overall progress of the implementation of the AO and to discuss the issues affecting the media in the country.
 
PCOO Assistant Secretary for Operations Ana Maria Paz R. Banaag, who hails from Natonin, Mt. Province also took the podium to explain to her fellow Cordillerans how the PCOO is advocating government programs through traditional and new media. She stressed that the National Government understands the situation of areas such as the Cordillera region where the terrain makes internet connectivity challenging. In this regard, she urged the local government units to maximize the presence of government owned television and radio stations such as the Radyo ng Bayan in communicating their programs and advocacies to their constituents. She emphasized that communication is always vital in the implementation of any government program. She reminded the delegates of the value of communicating government programs with the adage “you cannot understand what you do not know and you cannot understand what you do not want to understand.”
 
Philippine Information Agency Deputy Director General Gregorio Angelo C. Villar also urged the members of the media, the information officers of government agencies and other stakeholders to “share the change” through communication. The 2017 ASEAN-PCOO road show in Baguio City, which was facilitated by the PIA-CAR, was held at the Hotel Elizabeth and at the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) Main Office in Baguio City. Mr. Bongbong L. Buli-e, Ms. Jaila S.Sagpa-ey and Mr. Adrian Chris P. Velasco of the ATI-CAR attended the event.