Senators grill PCOO over poor messaging quality and credibility
MANILA, Philippines — Senators on Thursday found the government’s messaging, through its communication team, lacking.
At a budget hearing in the Senate, Senator Francis Tolentino shared the opinion of Egyptian head of the human rights council based in Geneva about the Philippine government’s supposed failure to respond to human rights critics.
The senator noted in particular the human rights expert’s statement that the Philippines has no problem in terms of human rights but is lacking in making “positive responses” to its critics.
“So what’s happening right now is the apparent lack of concrete positive messaging that would help the Philippine government curtail the negative criticisms coming from the critics in so far as human rights is concerned,” Tolentino said.
He pointed out that human rights issue does not only refer to physical violence but to other rights such as economic, and political rights.
“What the the Egyptian said yesterday in Geneva is for us —for the government, the PCOO (Presidential Communications Operations Office) in particular—to refocus on the positive,” said the senator.
Tolentino also reminded the PCOO of its mandate “to project the positive.”
“There has to be a rechanelling, refocus in so far as international and even domestic projection of the government’s accomplishments in terms of human rights. Hindi lang yung (not only) human rights na may namatay (concerning killings) …” he said.
When the senator asked about its program on messaging next year, PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar informed the body of its new communications campaign called “the Duterte legacy,” which would be launched this October next month.
This legacy campaign, he said, would run in the next three years or until end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term in 2022.
Andanar said they also have the Office of Global Media Affairs, which communicates with the international media.
Senator Richard Gordon minced no words when he said the PCOO has a “credibility” problem.
He said nobody would listen to government’s television and radio stations if all their news are “pro-administration.”
“But if you’re able to get the people to voice their concerns in the government channel, your credibility will rise because right now, I think there’s a credibility problem in your department,” Gordon, who was presiding over the hearing, said.
He underscored the need to open all channels to everyone, including those in the opposition.
“But I’m not going to impose myself. I can impose myself if I start chopping your budget,” Gordon added./ac
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