Im­proved gov’t com­mu­ni­ca­tions

The Philippine Star - - BUSINESS - MARY ANN LL. REYES

The pres­i­den­tial com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fice has had its faults, and its shares of de­trac­tors, but one good thing about it is that it has made its pres­ence felt, some­thing we can­not say the same for those un­der the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tions.

Pres­i­den­tial Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Op­er­a­tions Of­fice (PCOO) Sec­re­tary Martin An­da­nar, who in the first few months of the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion was al­ways on tele­vi­sion, has been con­spic­u­ously out of the lime­light, but that is be­cause he is cur­rently fo­cused on strength­en­ing the agency. He even gave up his job as back-up Palace spokesper­son to de­vote his time and ef­fort in­stead to strength­en­ing the var­i­ous of­fices un­der him.

Ac­cord­ing to peo­ple close to him, he wants to give sub­stance to the terms “press free­dom” and “free­dom of in­for­ma­tion,” and has been busy stream­lin­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

To pro­mote trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity as fun­da­men­tal tenets of good gov­er­nance, the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion is­sued Ex­ec­u­tive Or­der 2 pro­vid­ing for ac­cess by the public to poli­cies and de­ci­sions of the de­part­ments and agen­cies un­der the ex­ec­u­tive branch.

While the EO does not cover the leg­is­la­ture and the ju­di­ciary, it is a big step for­ward in im­ple­ment­ing the con­sti­tu­tional guar­an­tee of full public dis­clo­sure of all gov­ern­ment trans­ac­tions in­volv­ing public in­ter­est.

To put this EO into ef­fect, the PCOO started on­line post­ings of such trans­ac­tions in a few ex­ec­u­tive agen­cies, with many more lined up in the months ahead. But the agency still hopes that the leg­is­la­ture would pass an FOI bill cov­er­ing the three branches of gov­ern­ment, thus fully im­ple­ment­ing the let­ter and spirit of the fun­da­men­tal law.

The PCOO then ini­ti­ated the cre­ation of the Pres­i­den­tial Task Force on Me­dia Se­cu­rity un­der Ad­min­is­tra­tive Or­der 1. The PTFoMS is man­dated to in­ves­ti­gate all cases of ha­rass­ment and vi­o­lence against all le­git­i­mate mem­bers of me­dia and to rec­om­mend charges against the per­pe­tra­tors. The task force has al­ready is­sued guide­lines to pro­tect jour­nal­ists from harm and to put an end to me­dia killings. The sit­u­a­tion for me­dia has be­come so bad that the coun­try has been in­cluded in the top five list of coun­tries most dan­ger­ous for jour­nal­ists.

It also cre­ated the Peo­ple’s Broad­cast­ing Corp. that will in­te­grate Radyo ng Pilip­inas and PTV 4. Radyo ng Pilip­inas plans to re­vi­tal­ize the 30 pro­vin­cial sta­tions, re­in­force its news and cur­rent af­fairs, and ex­pand news cov­er­age.

There are also plans to es­tab­lish the Min­danao Broad­cast Hub to strengthen tri-me­dia cov­er­age of sig­nif­i­cant de­vel­op­ments in Min­danao. It has al­ready ob­tained the ap­proval from the Na­tional Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion (NTC) of a pro­posal of the Bu­reau of Broad­cast Ser­vice to use 87.5 FM na­tion­wide as the gov­ern­ment’s FM sta­tion.

Mean­while, the Peo­ple’s Tele­vi­sion Net­work (PTV) is now in the process of re­for­mat­ting its news­casts and de­vel­op­ing new pro­grams to ed­u­cate or in­form the peo­ple about gov­ern­ment ac­tiv­i­ties. To­day, as a re­sult of in­ter­nal on­line re­forms, PTV 4 has over a mil­lion fol­low­ers on Face­book from the pre­vi­ous 30,000.

Salaam Dig­i­tal TV is an ef­fort to in­tro­duce to a broader na­tional au­di­ence the cul­ture, way of life and as­pi­ra­tions of Mus­lims in the coun­try. PTV 4 also plans to put up another TV sub-chan­nel that will fo­cus on the lives and be­liefs of the Lu­mads or the var­i­ous eth­nic tribes in Min­danao.

We also learned that An­da­nar is re­train­ing, re­tool­ing and align­ing the ob­jec­tives of the Philip­pine News Agency (PNA) to make it more re­spon­sive to the needs of the times. The PNA will have its own on­line news­cast this Oc­to­ber. It’s about time.

Also, we were told that An­da­nar wants the Philip­pine In­for­ma­tion Agency (PIA) to be the main public re­la­tions arm of gov­ern­ment, with ex­per­tise in com­mu­ni­ca­tions plan­ning and re­search, mes­sag­ing, pro­duc­tion, dis­sem­i­na­tion and me­dia place­ment, and ca­pa­ble of strength­en­ing part­ner­ships with other en­ti­ties in both gov­ern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor to en­sure more ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion across all sec­tors. Fur­ther­more, the Pro­vin­cial Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Of­fi­cers Net­work was cre­ated to es­tab­lish a net­work of mu­nic­i­pal, city and pro­vin­cial In­for­ma­tion Of­fi­cers Net­work who help the na­tional gov­ern­ment spread the right in­for­ma­tion to the public.

He has also or­dered the im­me­di­ate re­fur­bish­ing of the PIA The­ater to make it a pre­ferred venue for var­i­ous events and home to the ASEAN Gov­ern­ment Strate­gic Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Cen­ter (AGSCC) which will be tasked to up­date the skills or train gov­ern­ment in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cers.

Apart from all this, the PCOO has suc­cess­fully in­te­grated so­cial me­dia in its news dis­sem­i­na­tion ef­forts. The So­cial Me­dia Of­fice is tasked to build and ex­e­cute a so­cial me­dia com­mu­ni­ca­tion plan that in­cludes gen­er­at­ing and pub­lish­ing daily so­cial me­dia con­tent.

PCOO has also forged a part­ner­ship with Face­book for live stream­ing of al­most all ma­jor pres­i­den­tial ac­tiv­i­ties. This al­lows ne­ti­zens to keep abreast of the Pres­i­dent’s pol­icy pro­nounce­ments be­fore var­i­ous au­di­ences. Fol­low­ers of the Pres­i­den­tial Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Face­book page in­creased from 2,000 to 1.1 mil­lion in just 14 months.

Mala­cañang re­porters like­wise told us that An­da­nar has im­proved the Brief­ing Room to make it more com­fort­able and con­ve­nient for me­dia to cover the live broad­casts.

Go­ing global

The Philip­pines for some years now has been po­si­tion­ing it­self for med­i­cal tourism.

With the many health care chal­lenges faced by sev­eral coun­tries that in­clude age­ing pop­u­la­tions, ris­ing health­care costs, un­avail­abil­ity of treat­ment, and short­age of med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als, the Philip­pines’ pri­vate hos­pi­tals and clin­ics now have a golden op­por­tu­nity to surge ahead.

Ac­cord­ing to Joyce Sa­cao-Alumno, founder and pres­i­dent of Health Core, the coun­try needs to pre­pare its health­care providers which in­clude hos­pi­tals, clin­ics and their ad­min­is­tra­tors and staff for the in­evitable chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties of health­care glob­al­iza­tion. Health Core serves as the cen­ter for global health care man­age­ment, qual­ity ac­cred­i­ta­tion and ad­vo­cate of med­i­cal tourism in the Philip­pines.

Alumno pointed out that the health­care land­scape is chang­ing spe­cially in the de­vel­oped coun­tries where there is now a large age­ing pop­u­la­tion. She said that neigh­bor­ing coun­tries in the ASEAN are fac­ing a dif­fer­ent chal­lenge of short­age in health­care fa­cil­i­ties and pro­fes­sion­als while the Philip­pines, with a very young pop­u­la­tion and a horde of tal­ents that in­cludes nurses and other health­care and hos­pi­tal­ity pro­fes­sion­als, is poised to be­come a lead­ing health­care des­ti­na­tion if it is equipped and ready to han­dle the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket.

Un­der­stand­ing the dif­fer­ent de­mands of in­ter­na­tional pa­tients, Health Core is bring­ing to the Philip­pines TEMOS In­ter­na­tional GmbH, the first and only cer­ti­fi­ca­tion body world­wide that fo­cuses on qual­ity pro­grams that deal with in­ter­na­tional pa­tient treat­ment from the med­i­cal and non-clin­i­cal ser­vice per­spec­tive. TEMOS is head­quar­tered in Ger­many and is a mem­ber of the In­ter­na­tional So­ci­ety for Qual­ity in Health­care (ISQua). The train­ing will be held on Sept. 18, 2017 from 1-5 p.m., at the EDSA Shangri-La Ho­tel and will be con­ducted by TEMOS founder and CEO Clau­dia Mika and So­cao-Alumno. To know more about the TEMOS train­ing, email at or call +63.908.8887880.

Alumno said they hope more hos­pi­tals and well­ness cen­ters in the Philip­pines will achieve in­ter­na­tional cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and ac­cred­i­ta­tion in or­der for the Philip­pines to gain global ac­cep­tance in the field of health­care since that is the first step in mak­ing the Philip­pines a med­i­cal tourism des­ti­na­tion.

For com­ments, e-mail at mareyes@philstar­me­

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