Andanar insists PCOO as an institution ‘never red-tagged anybody’
MANILA, Philippines — Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Tuesday insisted that the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) has “never red-tagged anybody,” amid criticisms that one of his undersecretaries had caused a drawback in the deliberation of the agency’s budget at the House of Representatives due to her supposed red-tagging activities.
“The PCOO as an institution has never red-tagged anybody, you can check with our PTV broadcasts Radyo Pilipinas, the Philippine Information Agency, even the Philippine News Agency never red-tagged anybody,” Andanar said during the Senate’s hearing on the PCOO budget.
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, in his questioning, said that deliberations of the PCOO’s budget that was earlier stalled in the lower chamber was “in my opinion, amounts to propaganda.”
“Has this been resolved? Kasi if may problema pa sa House, does this mean you have a big obstacle still to surmount in the House of Representatives?” the senator added.
In response, Andanara said this issue has already been “resolved.”
“On whether the PCOO is red-tagging people were already resolved based on my conversations with the congressmen at the House. The PCOO as an institution has never red-tagged any individual of this Republic,” he added.
In September, House deliberations on the proposed PCOO budget were suspended “until further notice” as lawmakers denounced supposed red-tagging activities of PCOO Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy.
The Makabayan bloc, whose members were tagged by Badoy as “high-ranking officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF),” also called for the PCOO official’s resignation.
The PCOO and its attached agencies are proposing a P1.58-billion budget for 2021.
Senator Richard Gordon, who was presiding over the hearing, said the country needs a reliable and credible state media.
Gordon stressed that the PCOO, as the media arm of the government, should be able to “maintain a high standard of media information and education but certainly not propaganda.”
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