MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has issued Executive Order (EO) 16 reorganizing the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) to rationalize and consolidate the functions of the communications arm of the executive branch, including the Office of the President (OP), effective immediately.

The PCO, headed by a Secretary, will serve as the "primary office of the Executive branch in engaging and involving the citizenry and the mass media in enriching the quality of public discourse on all matters of governance," read EO 16 signed on Feb. 13.

"For this purpose, the PCO shall be responsible in crafting, formulating, developing, enhancing, and coordinating the messaging system of the Executive branch and the OP," stated the EO, a copy of which was released by the Palace on Tuesday.

EO 16 supplements EO No. 11, signed on Dec. 29, 2022, to further streamline the administrative structure of the OP and rename the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) to PCO.

Under EO 16, the PCO Secretary will be assisted by five Undersecretaries and 14 Assistant Secretaries, with one Assistant Secretary directly reporting to the PCO Secretary.

The five Undersecretaries will lead the five functional areas in the restructured PCO, which include the Traditional Media and External Affairs; Digital Media Services; Content Production; Broadcast Production; and Operations, Administration and Finance.

"The Secretary is hereby authorized to continuously assess and evaluate, and on the basis thereof, transfer, delineate, reassign, or reorganize the functional areas of responsibility of each Undersecretary and/or Assistant Secretary as he or she may deem necessary," EO 16 said.

EO 16 also mandates the PCO Secretary to ensure close coordination with the Presidential Adviser "on matters relating to communications and information dissemination, and the development and enhancement of the messaging system of the Executive branch and the OP.

Offices' functions

The new EO provides specifics about the functions of the undersecretaries leading the five PCO offices.

Assisted by five Assistant Secretaries, the PCO Undersecretary for Traditional Media and External Affairs will be in charge of the formulation and implementation of the messaging directives, ensuring the efficient delivery of essential communication and messaging services of the Executive branch and the OP through various industry assets.

The PCO Undersecretary for Digital Media Services, supported by two Assistant Secretaries, will be tasked to formulate and implement programs and policies on the responsible and efficient use of digital media assets and tools.

The PCO Undersecretary for Content Production, will be in charge of providing close-in coverage of the official activities of the President, while the PCO Undersecretary for Broadcast Production will be designated to manage and organize live productions for broadcast.

The two Undersecretaries will both be assisted by one Assistant Secretary each.

The PCO Undersecretary for Operations, Administration and Finance, assisted by four Assistant Secretaries, will be responsible for the delivery of essential administrative and financial services to support the core mandates of the PCO.

Other attached agencies

EO 16 also authorizes the PCO to regain control and supervision over several offices, including the Presidential Broadcast Staff-Radio Television Malacañang (PBS-RTVM), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Bureau of Communications Services (BCS), and Freedom of Information-Program Management Office (FOI-PMO).

To recall, EO 2 signed in June 2022 placed the RTVM and the PIA the under the direct control and supervision of the Presidential Management Staff and the OP, respectively.

The BCS and the FOI-PMO, on the other hand, were previously put under the PIA by virtue of EO 2.

The PCO still has the direct control and supervision over PBS-Bureau of Broadcast Services and the News and Information Bureau, according to EO 16.

Government-owned or -controlled corporations such as the People's Television Network, Inc., APO Production Unit, Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation, and the National Printing Office will now be reattached to the PCO and will be supervised by an Assistant Secretary.

The PCO Secretary, in coordination with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), may recommend the abolition of "redundant positions, divisions, and units, subject to existing laws, rules and regulations" based on EO 16.

"Affected personnel of the PCO shall be allowed to avail of the benefits provided under existing laws, if applicable. The DBM is hereby ordered to release the necessary funds for the benefits of eligible employees," the EO read.

The PCO Secretary shall further determine the appropriate staffing pattern and corresponding qualification standards for all positions under the new structure.

“For this purpose, the PCO shall submit to the DBM, for review and approval, a revised organizational structure and staffing pattern of the PCO, pursuant to this Order and subject to compliance with relevant laws, rules and regulations," the EO added.

The funding requirement for the implementation of EO 16 will be charged to the available appropriations of the PCO, subject to relevant budgeting, accounting, and auditing rules and regulations. (PNA)