Duterte reconstructs Palace Spokesperson’s office, abolishes PCOO attached agency

Published April 27, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Argyll Geducos

Following the comeback of lawyer Harry Roque as his spokesperson, President Duterte has ordered the reconstitution of the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson (OPS) and the dissolution of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSCPO) to simplify government.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds a meeting with members of the  Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on April 20, 2020. ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO/ MANILA BULLETIN
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Based on Executive Order (EO) No. 111 signed April 27, Duterte cited the need to harmonize the functions of the different communications offices under the Office of the President (OP) to ensure the efficient and effective performance of their common mandate.

The order reconstitutes the OPS under the OP to be headed by the Presidential Spokesperson who shall have the rank and emoluments of a Cabinet Secretary.

The presidential spokesperson may now be assisted by a deputy and an assistant spokesperson who may serve in a co-terminous capacity.

The OPS shall review and/or modify its existing organizational structure to effectively carry out its functions. The new structure shall be subject to the approval of the Budget Department, except for positions beyond its authority to approve, or unless the President opts to exercise such approving authority directly.

The Office of the Presidential Spokesperson is created after the previous Aquino administration split the Office of the Press Secretary into the “Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), the PCDSCPO, and the Presidential Spokesperson,” per the EO.

The task of informing and communicating to the people the policies, programs, official activities, and achievements of the OP and the Executive Department, as well as the development and implementation of communication strategies, were shared between the three new entities.

Functions

Under the EO, the OPS is tasked to discharge the function of speaking for the President on matters pertaining to his actions, policies, programs, official activities, and accomplishments.

It is mandated to coordinate and cultivate relations with private mass media entities and provide news and information to the public by utilizing relevant mass media and other emerging platforms.

The OPS shall develop and implement necessary guidelines and mechanisms pertaining to the dissemination of information on the policies, programs, official activities, and achievements of the President.

It will likewise provide a mechanism to address special concerns of the OP for better communication with the Filipino people as well as with foreign media.

It shall submit periodic reports to the President, through the Executive Secretary, on the status of programs and projects undertaken, and perform other functions that the President may direct.

The OPS and PCOO, meanwhile, shall coordinate on all activities directly relevant to both their functions.

Streamlining

The EO likewise abolished the PCDSPO to “achieve simplicity, economy, and efficiency in government.”

All agencies, bureaus, and offices previously attached to the PCDSPO are retained and shall remain under the offices having actual supervision and jurisdiction over them. The existing arrangements, however, may be modified, in consultation with the concerned agencies, through an executive issuance from the OP.

According to the Official Gazette, the PCDSPO serves as the President’s chief message-crafting body. It is mandated to provide strategic communication leadership and support to the Executive Branch and to lead the strategic communication of government through the formulation and enforcement of a National Communications Policy.

In late 2018, it was announced that President Duterte was planning to revive the Office of the Press Secretary and appoint Roque to head the office. Roque, however, stepped down as Presidential Spokesperson to run for Senate in 2019 but his health forced him to drop out of the race.

In the budget hearing of the PCOO in 2018, Senate President Tito Sotto believed “we have completely digressed from the original intent of the creation of the Office of the Press Secretary and it is no longer in the landscape of the administration.”

He said lawmakers learned that PCOO and PCDSPO were created to “accommodate some political friends of the previous administration.”

 
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