Roque takes lead in gov’t Covid-19 info dissemination

By Azer Parrocha

April 23, 2020, 10:56 pm

<p>Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque <em>(File photo)</em></p>

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (File photo)

MANILA – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque will take the lead in the government’s information dissemination on the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

Roque confirmed this in a virtual presser, explaining that Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea authorized only him and Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire to speak on behalf of the government.

Nagkaroon na po ng pag-utos ang ating (There is an order from our) Executive Secretary that information sharing will now be centralized through the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson,” he said.

He said he had no knowledge on the basis of Medialdea’s decision.

“The memo said po that the only authorized person to speak on behalf of government are, number one, the Presidential Spokesperson; and number two, Usec. Vergeire of the DOH for health-related matters,” he said.

After taking his oath on April 14, Roque returned to the Cabinet succeeding former Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.

Asked why Roque was reappointed, Panelo said "the present crisis requires a new tack in messaging.”

Before Roque’s reappointment, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles held daily virtual pressers to update the public on new revised guidelines under the enhanced community quarantine.

Nograles is also currently spokesperson for the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

He was last seen at Willie Revillame’s online show “Tutok To Win sa Wowowin” on Wednesday.

Vergeire regularly holds virtual pressers for health-related matters such as updated numbers of Covid-19 cases, deaths, and recoveries, and contact-tracing, isolating, and mass testing efforts.

Aside from Nograles, Presidential Peace Adviser and National Task Force (NTF) Covid-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. also holds day-end virtual pressers at least thrice a week.

State-run PTV-4 also hosts a daily Laging Handa public briefer that invites officials from both the public and private sector as well as regular citizens to speak about matters concerning the government’s Covid-19 response. (PNA)