ILOILO CITY-- The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) is looking forward to a smooth flow of information from the government down to communities through the Provincial Communication Officers Network (PCO Net).
About 80 information officers of regional line government agencies and local government units in Iloilo Province gathered here on Thursday for the launching of the network graced by PCOO Assistant Secretary for Operations Ana Maria Paz Banaag and Director III Princess Duque.
In a press conference, Banaag highlighted the important role of information officers “as partners to bridge communication from the national government to the local government units.”
Banaag said the role of information officers was not given importance in the past years.
“This time we want the government to recognize us, to recognize the importance of information officers because no matter how beautiful the programs of our current administration is, if our people do not know about them, they will not be able to have access to them,” she added.
The Communications assistant secretary said that they had been going around different areas in the country to launch the PCO Net.
It serves as a prelude to the National Information Convention on February 19-21, 2018 in Davao City which is expected to gather around 1,300 information officers across the country.
She said that the three-day national convention would be able to provide knowledge to information officers on how to create their communications plan, responsible sharing of information, freedom of information, how to combat fake news and how to further become responsible information officer.
She added that participants would be taught on how to organize press conferences, handle the media and how they could help their local officials in implementing their respective communications plan to the communities.
“I hope they will be able to learn these basic things so that our government, our leaders will be able to see the importance of information officers in local governance,” she said.
President Rodrigo Duterte and PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar are expected to attend the convention.
Duque said they would create social media accounts for the group of information officers so they could directly send information from Malacañang to be cascaded to their respective areas.
Meantime, in a courtesy call to Mayor Jose Espinosa III, Banaag said that they had been “trying to reach out to Iloilo for the longest time because of some perceptions.”
“Little by little we have to frequent Iloilo para hindi magkakaroon ng impression na ino- ostracize natin ang Iloilo; that the President does not want Iloilo,” she shared.
During the close to 30 minutes courtesy call, Banaag said that they were also planning to visit Roxas City and other island municipalities of Iloilo.
“We wanted to make them feel that we never left Iloilo just because of politics,” she stated.
Banaag also reiterated that they had been going to various places and had been meeting with information officers “to have partners in municipalities.”
Espinosa underscored the importance of having a direct line to Malacañang.
He likewise extended his invitation for the two PCOO executives to come back for the Dinagyang Festival on January 26-27. (With reports from Perla Lena/PNA)
PNA photos by Perla Lena and Cindy Ferrer