Palace: Revival of the Offfice of Press Secretary not a priority  

Published July 21, 2019, 4:51 PM

by Gabriela Baron & Minka Klaudia Tiangco

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang said the plan to revive the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) was no longer among President Duterte’s priorities, even if there was already an Executive Order (EO) ready for his signing that would re-establish the agency.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar (PCOO/ MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar (PCOO/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar made the statement amid talks of a minor revamp in President Duterte’s Cabinet.

In an interview over Super Radyo DZBB, Andanar said that the proposal to revive the OPS has not been mentioned since it was brought up during the last quarter of 2018.

“The last time na talagang mainit ‘yang usapin na ‘yan was (It was a hot topic) when the President asked Secretary Roque (former Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque) to stay in the Cabinet and not run for the Senate,” he said.

“From that time on hindi na napag-usapan, eh (we haven’t talked about it). We’ll see,” he added.

“We will just wait for him to sign it. I guess now, marami pang ibang problema na tinututukan ang ating mahal na Pangulo. Itong pag-revert lang (the President has a lot of other matters to attend to. So simply reverting the PCOO) to the Office of the Press Secretary hindi pa (is not) a priority as of now,” he continued.

The revival of the OPS was raised by senators during the hearing of the Presidential Communications Operations Office’s (PCOO’s) budget for In October last week. Andanar later on confirmed that the Palace was planning to revert the PCOO to the OPS.

The position of the Press Secretary was originally offered by Duterte to Roque but the latter’s indecision to run for senate or stay in the Cabinet prompted the President to appoint Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo as the new spokesperson.

Andanar told Palace reporters in Bali, Indonesia in October last year that the transition team in the PCOO was ready.

In his Sunday interview, Andanar maintained that reverting the PCOO to the OPS was a good idea.

“That idea is a good idea and it should be reverted to the Office of the Press Secretary kung kailan man gawin ni Presidente (whenever the President decides to do it). Because in principle it was already approved by the President. We will just wait for him to sign it,” he said.

Also in an interview with Super Radyo DZBB Sunday, Roque said that it was up to the President if he still wanted him in the Cabinet. Roque resigned as Presidential Spokesperson to run for Senate. He, however, backed out of the race due to health issues.