AMONG the priorities of the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) for its 2024 proposed budget are activities that will continuously convey to the people the development agenda of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. as well as fight misinformation and disinformation, Communications Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil said on Monday.
“Number one priority siyempre, communication of the President’s (development agenda) but underlying that is the fight against fake news,” Garafil told the Senate hearing on the PCO budget.
“Kaya nga po ngayon taon ay nag-launch po kami ng aming Media and Information Literacy Campaign para po matugunan itong problema natin sa fake news, which I believe I also discussed last year.”
The PCO’s proposed budget is to be presented to the Senate plenary after passing the deliberation by the Senate Committee on Finance’s Subcommittee presided over by Sen. Joseph Victor Gomez “JV” Ejercito.
The PCO, including its attached agencies, is requesting for P1.921 billion for its various programs and continuing modernization.
According to Garafil, among the PCO’s challenges include managing an organization that has grown in size and scope as a result of the issuance of Executive Order (EO) No. 16.
EO 16, issued by President Marcos in February this year, reorganized the PCO into five functional areas, each headed by an undersecretary.
These functional areas are Traditional Media and External Affairs, Content Production, Broadcast Production, Digital Media Services, and Operations, Administration and Finance.
“Lumawak din talaga ‘yung naging function namin kasi part of our function now is ‘yung presidential engagements. So kami na rin ang nagko-coordinate at nagma-mount in part nung lahat ng lakad ni Presidente,” the PCO chief said.
“’Yung ibang function po ng PMS (Presidential Management Staff) ay napunta rin po sa amin. Kaya lumawak din ‘yung mga tao na papunta sa amin.”
However, the new setup makes sense because it makes PCO’s job easier in supporting the President in his information and communication demands or requirements, Garafil pointed out.
Ejercito expressed his full support for the PCO’s proposed 2024 budget, recognizing the agency’s significant role in bringing the government closer to the people.
“Mga balita at impormasyon din ang nagsisilbing daluyan ng komunikasyon ng pamahalaan sa ating taumbayan. Ang realidad, bawat administrasyon ay hinuhusgahan sa dami at kalidad ng mga proyekto at mga programang nagawa o napatupad. Dito higit na makikita ang kahalagahan ng PCO,” Ejercito said.
“Naniniwala po ako na dapat tayong mamuhunan sa larangan ng impormasyon at pagbabalita,” he added.
Under its proposed budget in the National Expenditure Program, the PCO proper is requesting PhP495.768 million (28 percent); PhP179.485 million (10 percent) for Radio Television Malacañang; PhP378.914 million (21 percent) for the Philippine Information Agency; PhP147.036 million (8 percent) for the News and Information Bureau; PhP13 million (one percent) for the National Printing Office; PhP95.638 million (5 percent) for the Bureau of Communications Services; PhP482.011 million (27 percent) for the Philippine Broadcasting Service; and, a government subsidy for the People’s Television Network worth PhP128.914 million for its modernization.