Coloma takes over Palace briefings
MANILA, Philippines—Secretary Herminio Coloma of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) has been presiding over the noontime briefing of reporters in Malacañang, taking over from presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda.
When asked about the new arrangement, Coloma denied he was now the official mouthpiece of the administration, although the evidence pointed to the contrary.
“There’s only one communications team of the President, and I am part of that group. We are all pitching in to enhance the overall communication effort,” he said.
“Presently, we’ve agreed that I will be part of [the group] meeting you on a regular basis, so that we will have a [fuller] understanding of important issues,” he said.
Coloma’s presence at the regular briefing was welcomed by the Malacañang Press Corps (MPC), which had complained about the lack of immediate—and substantial—responses from the Palace on issues confronting the Aquino administration on a daily basis.
Former Sen. Joker Arroyo had long taken notice of this, scoring Lacierda for supposed laziness.
“Part of the problem in Malacañang is the indolence of its spokespersons. They play things by ear and pass them off as facts,” said the three-term Makati representative and two-term senator, who was also executive secretary in the first Aquino presidency.
With Coloma back in the saddle, he hoped the public and the media would fully grasp the importance of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), a stimulus fund introduced in 2011 to ramp up sluggish government spending.
“That’s our objective—[for the public to have] a fuller grasp of all the important programs of the President and his administration,” Arroyo said.
On paper, Coloma heads the PCOO, the official media machinery of the government that includes Radyo ng Bayan and its nationwide affiliates, PTV4, IBC-13 and the Philippine Information Agency.
Although he heads an office with an extensive bureaucracy, Coloma had been away from the limelight for most of the Aquino administration.