3 not enough, Palace taps all agencies for PR work

Published by rudy Date posted on April 3, 2011

Despite the many-headed communications group at the Palace, President Aquino believed that there is failure in delivering his supposed achievements to public notice, resulting in the drastic fall in Aquino’s recent performance surveys, the reason for Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma to order yesterday “all government agencies to work together” to do public relations (PR) for the Aquino administration.

Already the Palace has three officials — Coloma, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning (PCDSP) Secretary Ramon Carandang and Press Secretary Edwin Lacierda — with Cabinet ranks but Aquino the other day conceded a weakness in communicating his claimed achievements to the nation for his ratings drop.

“All government agencies must work together to inform the public about the accomplishments of the Aquino administration to further improve public perception,” Coloma said.

Coloma indicated the need for everyone to work together with the entire Executive Branch in

disseminating information “because the Communications Group can’t do it alone,” Coloma said in a radio interview.

Aquino the other day was quoted attributing his dwindling popularity ratings not only to the unfriendly media but also to the perceived inefficiency of his communicators in delivering the good news about the supposed achievements of his administration.

Coloma was discussing the survey rating of the President and his Cabinet, noting that the work of disseminating information to the public is not solely the President’s job.

“We know that the President can’t do it alone. He is the Chief Executive because he’s the head of the entire Executive department. The work of the President is being done by the entire Executive department,” he said.

Coloma stressed the need for team effort among the members of the executive department to let the public know about positive developments in the country related to the programs of the Aquino administration.

“To the point-of-view of our President, the scope of the good works of his administration has become broader and deeper since the day we assumed office and he thinks that it just lacks in terms of disseminating the good news that come from the different departments and agencies of government,” Coloma explained.

“He has approximately 25 Cabinet secretaries who serve as his assistants toward pursuing the promises he made and facing the responsibilities vested on him. It is important that the coverage of his administration with respect to reporting the good news extends to the other branches of government as well,” he added.

Speaking to reporters in a chance interview following his engagements in La Paz City, Iloilo last Friday, Aquino complained that most of the media organizations in the country do not focus on the positive angles of his activities whenever reporters tag along to cover his day-to-day activities.

He cited, for instance, his inadvertent coughing during a speech he delivered about a week ago that was given more emphasis in a television news report instead of the message he wanted to convey in that particular speech.

Just last Thursday, Aquino also spoke during the load-out ceremony of the Asia Pacific & Gulf Co. (AG&P) for its British Petroleum modularization project in Bauan, Batangas, lamenting why reporters were not able to ask him questions related to such activity in a chance interview he granted shortly after the said event.

Aquino’s gripes against the media stemmed from the recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey which found his net satisfaction rating dropping continuously while those of Vice President Jejomar Binay’s and the other members of Cabinet are improving.

His complaints as regards to the good news not being found on the front pages of the papers were actually reminiscent of the arguments made by former President Arroyo’s spokesmen whenever asked about the popularity ratings of the erstwhile Chief Executive which never recovered for the rest of her nine-year administration.

Aquino, nonetheless, kept telling himself that it’s alright with him to be rated as such by the public. He said he is happy for Binay and the rest of the members of his administration for the good public perception they are receiving.

“If there is anyone who wants to destroy (my relationship with the Vice President), I am sorry to disappoint you. We’ve been together for a long-time and we understand each other and the surveys are really just like that — sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down,” Aquino was quoted saying. 

Coloma acknowledged the importance of surveys, noting that these kind of assessments also help the government know where to improve, particularly in delivering services to the people.

At the same time, he said they are not only seeing the survey results in its entirety but also its components. For instance, in the recent Pulse Asia survey, he said that the people were asked about 12 important issues that affect them.

He said that out of the 12 issues, only three issues got majority rating, which means that there’s a need for the government to work on other issues that impact on the people.

“So this means that there are specific areas that need more focus, for us to work more, a need to strive to inform the people about the public services of the government,” he said.

The President also wants other government agencies to help him disseminate information to the public, Coloma said. He noted that government would know the feedback from the people through these initiatives.

While there are many good news that happen in the country, these are not usually being picked up by the local press because of other happenings abroad, Coloma said.

If the people will read the inside pages of broadsheets, not just front page banners, they will be informed of positive developments in the country being reported by the media, Coloma added.  –Aytch S. de la Cruz, Daily Tribune

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