PCOO chief arrives to promote FOI and media security; signs MOU with BU

Wednesday March 27,2019

In their on-going campaign against disinformation and promotion of media workers’ safety, Presidential Communications Operations Office’s (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar, along with other PCOO key officials and their retinue, visited Bicol University this March 26 for the Albay-leg of their PCOO Roadshow, which was hosted at the BU College of Arts and Letters (BUCAL) culminating with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

The said event was organized PCOO, through their coordination with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Region 5, and in partnership with Bicol University. The activity gathered heads and representatives from various concerned stakeholders, including the local media community, the academe, communication students, the local government, the private sector, among others.

The roadshow is PCOO’s nationwide drive aimed at eliminating disinformation by educating the people on how to be discerning of their news sources, as well as provide the public accurate information about the current administration by getting it straight from the top officials.

Moreover, the roadshow also advocates media security by introducing the government’s plans in combatting violence against media personalities. The government’s goal of creating fair and transparent governance was also given highlight in the roadshow through the inclusion of the ‘Freedom of Information’ (FOI) campaign.

For the roadshow’s stop in BU, the program began with the opening remarks given by BU President Dr. Arnulfo M. Mascariñas. The university president gladly welcomed the visitors and reiterated on BU’s constant support on the noble advocacies of PCOO.

After Dr. Mascariñas’ talk, Secretary Andanar addressed the participants and stressed the significance of freedom of speech and information in the vision of building better Filipino communities.

Secretary Andanar’s speech was followed by a discussion on “Safeguarding Press Freedom in the Philippines” by Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS) Executive Director Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco. In his experiences as a member of the press, Undersecretary Egco shared his knowledge on the threats to the safety of media practitioners, and what actions the government took to solve them.

The administration’s “Freedom of Information” Program was also discussed by PCOO Assistant Secretary and FOI Philippines Program Director Atty. Kristian R. Ablan. The said official explained the guidelines and mechanisms of the FOI and described its current status in the country.

Lastly, PCOO Assistant Secretary for Office of Brand Integration Ramon L. Cualoping III talked about the “Rehabinasyon” –one of the administrations on-going drive of eliminating drug-use in the country through educating the public of adverse effects of illegal drugs.

An open forum was held after the PCOO’s officials have discussed their respective topics to answer the questions from the participants.

Afterwards, a ceremonial signing of a Memorandum of Understanding was inked between BU and PCOO, which solidified their partnership in the advocacies of promoting freedom of information, media security, and truthful public information. The MOU was signed by Dr. Mascariñas for BU and Secretary Andanar for PCOO.

After the MOU signing, PCOO awarded BU a certificate of appreciation, which was conferred by Secretary Andanar and received by Dr. Mascariñas.