PCO chief keynotes social media bloggers’ roundtable

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar was invited by citizen activists belonging to the social media group Blog Watch to a roundtable discussion held Saturday in Makati City.

Hosted by Mae Paner, popularly known as Juana Change, also present at the occasion were Blog Watch officers Jane Uymatiao, Noemi Lardizabal-Dado, Bernadine Racoma, and Juned Sonido.

Andanar discussed the proposed amendments to the charter of People’s Television Network Inc. He outlined plans to integrate PTV-4 and Radyo ng Bayan into one entity to be called People’s Broadcasting Corporation (PBC).

Sponsors of the PBC bill are Senator Loren Legarda and Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, incoming House Speaker.

Andanar also discussed the “collapsing” of the Presidential Communications Operation Office (PCCO), Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO), and the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson into one unit, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO).

“There will be one Secretary, which is me, and four Undersecretaries below, as against the seven Undersecretaries before. So now we’re streamlining, we’re saving money for the government, and at the same time, we are avoiding the confusion in messaging,” he said.

The PCO chief shared that among his priorities once the PBC is established would be to put up broadcast hubs in Visayas and Mindanao, and come up with an emergency broadcast protocol with Davao as the rational location since it is outside the typhoon belt.

“Another reason why the hub will be in Davao is because once we set up a satellite broadcast in Mindanao, then we will set up the first Muslim channel, which will be called Salaam Television. And we will also set up the first Lumad channel,” Andanar disclosed.

As for the proposed National Communications Policy, he said it is about institutionalizing the communications process that will make the flow of information from one executive department to the other line agencies as smooth and seamless as possible. He plans to assign one Philippine Information Agency (PIA) officer per department to handle crisis communications professionally.

For the National Conversation, Andanar said it is a monthly activity to be organized by the PCO. “The reason we need a National Conversation every month and continuously for the next three or six years, the usual failure of government is that it loses touch with the realities in life,” he said. (PND)