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Government and media need not be adversaries, says Palace official

MANILA, Philippines – In his message during his final press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday, outgoing Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. underscored the importance of the media in a democratic country.
Secretary Coloma, who will be replaced by former TV news anchor and radio commentator Martin Andanar on Thursday (June 30), said the government and the media should have a good relationship.
“Hindi kailangang maging magka-away ang pamahalaan at media. Puwede namang magtulungan para sa kapakanan ng bansa; mahalaga lang unawain ang konteksto at perspektibo sa pag-uulat ng balita at paghahatid ng impormasyon,” said the Palace official.
“Aside from context and perspective, it is vitally important that we remain committed to the truth. This means accuracy in news reporting and getting our facts right all the time. For if we report what is not true, or if we report without diligently checking our facts, don’t we run the risk of losing credibility?”
“I encourage you to continue working with your counterparts in government to ensure that in this age of digital technology, we are able to check all the facts that get into the news stories that we broadcast and disseminate,” he added.
Coloma also reflected on freedom and democracy in his farewell message.
“In my younger days, I experienced first-hand the loss of my personal freedom as a political detainee under martial law. As a campus journalist, I witnessed a dark period in our history when citizens were deprived of freedom of expression and of the press. We must not drop our guard nor waver in our vigilance. Never again should there be prior restraint on the exercise of freedom of expression or of the press,” said the communication chief.
Under Coloma’s leadership, major reforms were implemented at the PCOO, such as the upgrade of facilities and transportation in PTV-4 and the construction of printing plants at the National Printing Office and APO Production Unit, Inc.
He also cited Republic Act 10390, signed by the President in 2013, which revitalized PTV-4 with a P5 billion capitalization and allowed the TV station to generate funds from advertising.
“Nakapagtatag ang APO ng isang high security printing plant sa Lima Technology Park saMalvar, Batangas — at dito ngayon nililimbag ang mga BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) revenue stamps alinsunod sa Sin Tax Reform law at mga electronic passports para sa DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs),” said Coloma.
“Sa pamamagitan ng mabuting pamamahala, puwedeng maghatid ng mahusay, mataas, at maipagmamalaking kalidad ng serbisyo publiko,” he added.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.