Palace media office rolls out free paper | Inquirer News

Palace media office rolls out free paper

Palace media office rolls out free paper.

Screengrab of the Facebook post of the Philippine Communications Office

Malacañang has launched a free Filipino-language tabloid called “The Philippine Gazette,” whose maiden issue hit some transport hubs in Metro Manila on Thursday containing the latest about President Marcos’ projects and programs.

Not to be mistaken for the government’s official journal, the Official Gazette, the free newspaper is a project of the Bureau of Communications Services (BCS) under the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), which recently came under fire on social media for its large number of undersecretaries and assistant secretaries.


Set for a monthly release, the Philippine Gazette is initially available at the Recto, Cubao and Santolan stations of Light Rail Transit 2; the Philippine National Railway station in Tutuban, Manila; the Manila North Harbor Terminal, and the Victory Liner Terminal in Pasay City, the PCO said.

The first issue, with articles written in Filipino, mostly featured positive news and updates on the Marcos administration.


Initial offers

It has classified ads and sections on sports and entertainment. There is no opinion section.

The PCO did not provide information on how much it was spending for the tabloid and its circulation.

On its website, the paper’s publisher BCS, an attached agency of the PCO, said it “provides and develops communication services relating to policy formulation, communication planning, project development, research and evaluation, and coordination of information planning within the framework of the overall thrust and priorities of the national development plan.”

The banner story of the main issue was: “Target na 1M housing units malalampasan ng Marcos admin (Marcos administration to exceed target of 1M housing units).”

The other stories were about the President’s plan to expand Kadiwa stores across the country, his recent visit to the United States, and the 190 infrastructure projects approved by the National Economic and Development Authority board.

6 usecs, 16 asecs

The paper’s launch came a week after veteran journalist Ramon Tulfo, posting a now widely shared commentary on Facebook that comes with a list of Marcos-appointees at the PCO, criticized the large number of senior officials in the Palace office.

The list named six undersecretaries and 16 assistant secretaries, with corresponding monthly salaries ranging from P140,000 to P200,000.


The Inquirer repeatedly tried to contact the PCO chief, Communications Secretary Cheloy Velicaria Garafil, for comment but she had yet to respond.

But a senior PCO employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said most of the officials on the list were no longer connected with the PCO following a “cleaning” of agency staff.

The PCO employee noted that undersecretaries and assistant secretaries were appointed by the President, not Garafil, in accordance with Executive Order No. 16 that he issued in February to reorganize the agency.

A check on the list further showed that some officials had been with the PCO before Garafil was appointed communications secretary late last year.

In an interview, Tulfo noted that the PCO could afford to hire undersecretaries and assistant secretaries with “handsome pay” but still lacked “good writers.”

“Read the press releases emanating from Malacañang and weep,” said Tulfo, a former Inquirer columnist.

Danilo Arao, an associate journalism professor at the University of the Philippines, said it was also “strange” that the PCO website did not contain a directory of officials.

Malacañang’s communications office, which went by different names in previous administrations, always had “one too many undersecretaries and assistant secretaries,” Arao said when sought for comment on the issues raised against the PCO. “For me, it has to be investigated well. Because if what Mr. Tulfo was saying was true, we have too many officials.”

“[The] bigger issue here is the bureaucracy and what are their official functions, [since] these appointments may have been made out of tokenism—that the job was given to you [out of] a debt of gratitude while the job was actually not functioning,” he added. “The issue of a bloated bureaucracy is a concern of good governance.”

Congress, he said, should also investigate other agencies which might be overstaffed as well, such as the education, interior and defense departments.

“Let’s clarify—this is not to single out Garafil or the PCO, for that matter. If ever that particular bloated or top-heavy bureaucracy exists in the PCO, maybe it’s high time that we also look at other agencies.” —REPORTS FROM Nestor Corrales, Jerome Aning, Dempsey Reyes and Krixia Subingsubing

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Malacañang, Media, newspaper, Presidential Communications Office, press
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

News that matters

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

© Copyright 1997-2023 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.