By Vanne Terrazola
Senator Richard Gordon on Thursday advised the Presidential Communications Operation Office (PCOO) to air all sides, including the government’s critics, in its television and radio programs.
At the deliberation of the Senate finance subcommittee G on the PCOO’s P1.7-billion proposed 2020 budget, Gordon, finance committee vice chairman, said the state communications office should not merely present pro-administration news and views in its broadcasting channels.
“I want to see the day when the government channel, that people can switch a channel, they want to listen to the government side, they want to listen to this — no, I’m not going to do that. I am switching to the government channel because here, Senator [Franklin] Drilon can be there, Sen. [Francis] Tolentino, or Sen. [Panfilo] Lacson, or anybody, they can discuss particular issues,” Gordon said before officials of the PCOO and its attached agencies, led by PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar.
Drilon, who is Senate minority leader, is a member of the opposition; while Lacson, despite supporting President Duterte, is also criticizing some of his policies. Tolentino, on the other hand, is a known administration ally.
Doing this, according to Gordon, would not only help increase the audience of government-owned broadcasting companies, but would also help spread and clarify President Duterte’s programs to the public.
“I think we’re doing the President disservice ‘pag nakabungad agad na (if are showing that), ‘This is for President Duterte’. Wala nang makikinig agad (No one will listen anymore). ‘Yong mga kalaban ni Duterte sasabihin, ‘Wag niyo nang panoorin ‘yan ( Critics of Duterte will say, ‘Don’t watch that’),” he said.
“Kung panay propaganda tayo, babalik na naman kayo next year, hihingi kayo ng pera (If we are all propaganda, you come back next year, ask for funds again). Why are we spending money if you are not effective?,” the senator asked PCOO executives.
Gordon, who, during the hearing, said he was “irritated” with the ratings of state-owned television channels, prodded the PCOO to also work on improving its programs, conducting more research, and hiring “better” anchors to make informed analysis on various issues.
“We are facing issues left and right, PCOO should give accurate answers to the public…You should welcome both sides and not be categorized as pro-admin only. We need our people to be well-informed,” he said in a tweet.
Andanar agreed with Gordon and said PCOO has already “fixed” its media platforms.
He reported that the performance of state-owned television and radio firms, as well as their social media presence, has improved over the last three years.
Gordon told reporters later that he finds the accomplishments of the PCOO “miniscule”.