Communications Secretary Martin Andanar (File photo)

CEBU CITY – Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said the Duterte administration maintains its good relation with the private media, emphasizing that the government welcomes constructive criticisms as a gesture of recognizing the freedom of the press.

During a brief engagement with the officials of the Cebu Federation of Beat Journalists (CFBJ) on Monday, he underscored the vital role of media practitioners in shaping the awareness of the public on the thrust and priorities of the government.

He said the PCOO, under the presidency of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, “is very open because we believe that the media people are our partners”.

“The President still enjoys a 91 percent trust rating kana kay tungod sa inyong mga reports - ang inyong gaisulat about the administration’s projects, the administrations strides ug katong mga dili pud maayo nga mga balita from the government kay inyo pong gaireport kay that’s really the essence of free society (The President still enjoys a 91 percent trust rating because of your reports - everything that you have written about the administration's projects, the administration’s strides, including those stories that are not as pleasing for the government because that’s really the essence of a free society),” he added.

Andanar said the government continues to pursue and uphold democracy in the presence of press freedom.

“Your constructive criticisms are not frowned upon, but in fact it is encouraged because for us, leaders, we should always be on our toes, because our job is based on public trust,” he said.

The CFBJ is an umbrella organization of nine media companies in Cebu, with more than 160 journalist members. Andanar also turned over to the media group a new set of flat screen TV.

“This is just one of the many appetizers from President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,” he said.

He said the PCOO will push for the legislation of the Media Workers Welfare Bill, which seeks to address the vulnerabilities of media workers by providing them security and protection and also uplifting their economic welfare, benefits, and skills.

Andanar is in Cebu for a series of engagements geared under its Laging Handa Communications Campaign. This time, promoting the government’s Covid-19 vaccination program.

He also appealed to the local journalists to help the government media on weeding out disinformation, especially in preparation for the rollout of the said program. (PCOO PR)