By Virginia Balanon
Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar commended the community radio system in Australia and stated that his Office intends to use the Australian model in exploring and developing ethnic community broadcasting in the Philippines.
The Press Secretary met with The Philippine Times, Radio 3ZZZ and two faculty members from the RMIT School of Social Media and Communication on 17 February at the ACMI Café in Federation Square, in a brief meeting primarily to talk about the Philippine Administration’s plans in area of media and communication.
“I like the concept of community radio. I worked for a community radio in Ballarat when I was a volunteer. When the time comes, we will also attempt to help the community radio stations in the Philippines, particularly in Mindanao and in the Visayas,” Andanar remarked.
Andanar further claimed that there are a lot of illegal transmissions in the country, particularly in the Visayas and Mindanao, and it is a goal of his Office to create a program for these stations to support and assist them in gaining legal status. Most of them are community-based stations and serve particular needs and target population.
In line with the Administration’s commitment toward a transparent and inclusive governance, the Press Secretary shared PCO’s advocacy for a free-for-all broadcasting in the country and was pleased to report about the enforcement of Executive Order No.2 Freedom of Information Law in the Philippines, the first in Philippine history.
Andanar also mentioned plans of having emergency broadcast centres in the country similar to Australia, eyeing PTV-4 and Radyo ng Bayan as broadcast hubs. He also cited developing Salam TV for the Muslims and Lumad TV for the indigenous peoples. During his Melbourne visit, the PCO Secretary conducted visits with SBS and ABC in line with this agenda.
During the meeting, Press Secretary Andanar is joined by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade -Southeast Asia Maritime Division Assistant Director for Philippines Joshua House, Honorary Consul Felix Pintado, PCO Executive Assistant Greggy Eugenio and RMIT faculty members from the School of Media and Communication, Deputy Dean (International) Dr. Marianne Dayrit-Sison and Centre for Communication, Politics and Culture Director Dr. Antonio Castillo.
Andanar also provided brief updates on the major accomplishments of Duterte Administration within seven months since assuming Office: (1) Continuation of the peace process; (2) Promotion of law and order, with the launching of the war against drugs and reporting a 40% crime rate reduction; (3) Economic development programs, reporting a 6.8% GDP growth, making the Philippines the fastest growing economy in Asia and one of the fastest, in the world; (4) Ongoing agricultural developments; (5) Strengthening of international relations with several countries like China and Japan (with Prime Minister Shinto Abe visiting the President’s hometown and own home during his Official State Visit); (6) Major infrastructure improvements and (7) Programs for overseas Filipino workers and migrants (i.e. OFW Bank, OFW cards, etc.).
Andanar urged the 104 million Filipinos, “We have to participate in governance. We have to participate to help the country improve: one, to obey the law; second, to tell the world what is really happening in the Philippines; and lastly, to critic us (in the Cabinet).”