GROUNDBREAKING. Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary and Philippine Information Agency Director General Ramon Cualoping III (left) leads the laying of the time capsule of the P26 million PIA-Cordillera regional office in Baguio City on Monday (May 31, 2021). It will be the first PIA building outside the National Capital Region and is one of the four buildings the agency will build this year. (PNA photo by Redjie Melvic Cawis)

BAGUIO CITY – The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) will construct the first Philippine Information Agency (PIA) office outside the National Capital Region here.

PIA is one of the agencies under the PCOO that is mandated to disseminate information about government programs, projects, and services to the Filipino public, with the final goal of seeing the quality of their lives improved and empowered to participate in the country’s democratic processes.

“The essence of information is always by telling of the truth. And this is the foundation by which the PIA has stood for in its entire existence. Most importantly, the strength of our national communications system is the professionalism and integrity of the women and men of the work desk of the agency and that is where the structures of the facility that will rise shall serve the Cordilleras,” PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar said in a video message played during the groundbreaking activity in Barangay DPS on Monday.

Andanar said the PIA is a communication source and mechanism vital for the government and the people.

“It is the interactive medium that connects the data of government services and other programs that are downloaded to the remotest communities in the country. The rapid growth of development is best served when the needs of our people are served,” he said.

PCOO Undersecretary Ramon Cualoping III, the PIA Director General, said it is the first PIA-owned building outside Metro Manila.

“I think this is the success of the entire PIA Cordillera team. This is history for the 35th year of PIA,” he said in a speech at the event.

The building worth PHP26 million is one of four PIA buildings to be constructed this year.

“Sa ilalim ni Pangulong [Rodrigo] Duterte, sa ilalim ni Sec. Andanar at sa tulong ni Senator (Christopher Lawrence) Bong Go na rin sa legislation sa budget, magpapatayo ng apat na building this year (During the term of President Duterte, under the leadership of Secretary Andanar, and with the help of Senator Bong Go who legislated the budget, four buildings will be erected this year). I think it is a very good birthday gift for the PIA for the 35 years,” Cualoping said.

The other building in the Cordillera will be in Tabuk City, Kalinga.

The PIA building in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan will also break ground this week while it will be the turn of the Region 9 office in Pagadian City, Zamboanga Del Sur within the month.

Cualoping assured that the PIA, together with the People’s Television Network, Radyo Pilipinas, and the Philippine News Agency as well as other media outfits, will continue to perform their functions to provide information amid challenges.

“We will not stop working 24/7 together with our colleagues in the private media to provide information that will equip the people with the correct knowledge which is very important especially during the pandemic,” he said. (PNA)