MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Saturday morning the Presidential Communications Operations Office would soon revert to the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS).
In an interview with DZMM radio early Saturday morning, Andanar said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has been offered the post Press Secretary.
"Office of the Press Secretary 'yun ang inaalok kay Sec. Harry Roque. Importante kasi si Sec. Harry Roque sa communications," Andanar said.
(Sec. Harry Roque is being offered the Office of the Press Secretary. Sec. Harry Roque is important in communications.)
President Rodrigo Duterte had said Thursday he would offer a new position to Roque, who he said is unlikely to succeed if he runs for the Senate in the 2019 mid-term elections.
"Si Secretary Harry Roque kinakausap namin kung puwede ipagpaliban ‘yung kaniyang pagkandidato dahil kailangan siya sa Communications team," he said.
(We are talking to Secretary Harry Roque if he could postpone his election bid because he is needed in the Communications team.)
Andanar added that he was ready to sacrifice his own position just to stop Roque from running in the coming elections.
Andanar revealed that plans to revive the Office of the Press Secretary have been discussed in previous hearings in the Senate.
Andanar, however, is not yet certain if his agency will remove or create new posts such as press attachés in missions abroad, particularly in key trading partners like the United States, China, Japan, United Kingdom, and countries in Europe and the Middle East.
"Pangarap natin magkaroon ng press attaché. Panahon na. Dito nga sa Pilipinas ang embahada ng Amerika may press attache," he pointed out.
(It’s our dream to have a press attaché. Now is the time. In the Philippines, the US Embassy here has a press attaché.)
Andanar said he was ready to leave his post for wherever the President may assign him next.
"I already achieved my objectives for the government media," he said, citing the ratings enjoyed now by state-run PTV, Radyo Pilipinas and its FM station.
He said social media reach of state communications pages has increased from 400,000 to 4 million.
"Kung alam ko naman na kaya ko naman ang susunod na assignment ko, gagawin ko. Karangalan ang magsilbi sa bayan at kay Pangulong Duterte," he said.
(If I know that I can perform well in the next assignment, then I'll do it. It is an honor to serve the country and President Duterte.)
THE EVOLUTION OF THE PALACE COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE
Former President Benigno Aquino III dissolved the OPS in 2010 to form a 3-headed communications group.
The group was composed of the PCOO, PCDSPO (Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office) and the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson.
The PCOO was tasked to oversee Malacañang’s news and information bureau, state-run radio and television, and printing office.
The PCDSPO served as the Palace's "chief message-crafting body." It handled the Official Gazette, Presidential Museum and Library, and Malacañang’s pool of speech writers.
Andanar said his office drafted a proposal in 2016 to revert the PCOO to the OPS.
"This time, PCDSPO (Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office) at PCOO ang pag-iisahin pati ‘yung Office of the Presidential Spokesperson isasama na para as one," he said.
(This time, PCDSPO and the PCOO and the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson would function as one.)
Duterte abolished the PCDSPO when he assumed presidency in 2016 and transferred its functions to the PCOO, which Andanar, a former broadcaster, heads.