By Ian Zane T. Esparaga | News Writer
Vol. XCI No. 11
Dec. 6, 2019
The Presidential Communications Operation Office (PCOO) holds its sixteenth leg of the local 2019 PCOO Roadshow and Campus at Silliman University.
Together with the Office of Information and Publications, and the College of Mass Communications, the PCOO spearheads the event as part of its Information, Education, and Communications (IEC) campaign. The leading communications arm of the government aims to inform and engage national and local governments, civil society organizations, non-government organizations, the academe, and the media on the initiatives of the current administration.
The PCOO tries to impart knowledge on the increase media and information literacy, through the Freedom of Information (FOI) program.
“FOI is more than transparency”, said Atty. Kristian Ablan, Assistant Secretary and FOI Philippines program director said. FOI is also for further knowledge, innovation, and empowerment. “Knowledge will forever govern corruption”, he added.
PCOO Executive Usec. Joel Sy Egco discussed the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) that enhances the protection of local media practitioners. He mentioned the major role of politics in media. “Killings are direct products of the hostile or violent geopolitical environment”, he said. PCOO Asst. Sec. Ramon Cualoping educated the public on Rehabinasyon, an all-encompassing campaign against illegal drugs.
Negros Oriental Governor Roel Ragay Degamo were present in the event together with the local government units and non-government organizations in Dumaguete City. Also, SU OIP Director Melita Aguilar, SU Vice President for development Jane Annette Belarmino, and PCOO undersecretary for administration and legal affairs Atty. Marvin Gatpayat was there in the event.
Students from Silliman University, Negros Oriental University, and Negros Maritime College Foundation participated in the Campus Caravan held at the SU Hall the following day.
SU President Betty Cernol-McCann emphasized the value of the individual’s internal environment in fact-checking and sharing of information. “An art of that internal environment is our ability to be faced in a cognitive skill that makes us able to do critiquing of information and making sure that we share information that is factual, correct, and ethical”, she said.
On the other hand, PCOO and Silliman University signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in implementing FOI in a campus-wide approach. “We would want to target schools, we would want to implement FOI in schools by providing them with necessary materials, collaterals, and all”, said Atty. Mae Sandoval, PCOO FOI policy officer. She added that teachers, students, as well as the librarians will get involved.
Part of the MOU was a provision regarding the designation of a student ambassador. The university declared Lanz Angelo Enardecido, a third-year Mass Communication student and Internal Vice Governor of the College of Mass Communication student body as the student ambassador. Enardecido shared that the main goal right now is to spread awareness on FOI and using it as a reference and resources by the students in their studies. “Our plans mainly as advised to me is to spread awareness and to see how it applies, how the freedom of information act applies to students on how it helps in our studies mostly research wise”, he added.
Meanwhile, second-year Mass Communication student Polyhymnia Dana Oblimar’s essay entitled “Of Transparency, Trust, and Truth” won the FOI Campus Caravan Essay-Writing Contest with the theme: “Seeking Truthful Information in the Digital Age through Freedom of Information.” Alexia Frances Elorde and Rose Amalore followed respectively as first and second runners-up.