Press Secretary

Aquino is just a tweet/SMS/ PM/chat away

Aquino is just a tweet/SMS/ PM/chat away
By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer

WANT TO SEND President Aquino a message of concern, a suggestion, or a quick note to say hi?

Just tweet it.

The Presidential Communications Group will set up Twitter and Facebook accounts to receive and respond—in real time—to feedback from the people, an official said yesterday.

Of course, the group, which will take over the job of the Press Secretary, will still receive feedback by text, or through TV, radio or newspapers.

“We will have a website. We will set up Facebook and Twitter accounts. Of course, we will set up a system to receive SMS (short message service). We will harness all channels of communication—both traditional and nontraditional media—to ensure an active flow of information,” Communications Group member Herminio “Sonny” Coloma said in a forum over government-run dzRB.

The bottom line is for the government to come up with quick solutions and respond promptly to concerns, he added.

2-way communication

Mr. Aquino has organized the Communications Group to take the place of the Press Secretary with two main functions: Articulate his policies and respond to feedback from the public.

He had envisioned the group to mount a “21st century” version of late populist President Ramon Magsaysay’s interaction with Filipinos in the ’50s.

The group has yet to hit the ground as Mr. Aquino has not issued the executive order spelling out its functions, composition and structure.

Coloma, a former BusinessWorld columnist, being tapped to handle the group’s media operations, gave the press a glimpse of the Communications Group’s work.

“The two-way communication will prevail… not just one coming from the President or Malacañang. We will seek to get inputs, opinions and suggestions from the people so they will become active participants in governance,” he said.

This, he said, was in contrast to the traditional job of the Press Secretary who would face the press or issue statements on behalf of the President.

OPS will not be dissolved

While Coloma would handle the media operations, former ANC news anchor Ricky Carandang would be in charge of communications or “messaging,” Malacañang sources had said.

The entry of the Communications Group would lead to changes in the organizational units, but would not lead to the dissolution of the Office of the Press Secretary.

“This is not going to be abolished,” Coloma said.

The Philippine Information Agency and government-run TV networks NBN 4, IBC 13, and RPN 9, and radio dzRB (Radyo ng Bayan) would be operating under the Communications Group.