By ERIK ESPINA
There is wisdom in the saying, “If it isn’t busted, why fix it?” Unfortunately, some “brilliant” mind adulterated what was a clearly — several decades and under various presidencies — a structured and working system for messaging in Malacanang. I am not interested in identifying the culprit in this botched-up idea. I welcomed the appointment of Secretary Harry Roque albeit under a “department” with two heads. This is even assuming bureaucratic lines and authority are defined. But when it comes to the spoken word, there must be one thinking head and one voice taking the lead, while coordinating with other executive departments on what the public “prose” will be under the president.
The deconstruction of the Presidential Communication Operations Office (started under PNoy) is a necessary change towards resurrecting the effectivity and control of the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) over all government means of communication and information. Cutting away excess “fat,” plus possible bureaucratic snags when personnel may lock horns over territory is a positive step, with the PCOO absorbed by the OPS.
Harry Roque is a shoe-in for the OPS, as well, maintaining his official function as presidential spokesman. This way, he will have a free-hand as to the personnel and direction of such an important department. The expanded and revived OPS may persuade Roque to stay the course, realizing the enormity of developing a state media all over the country including a mixed-use government satellite. The greatest challenge is how to make our information agencies viable, and the “go to” for news, public affairs, colorful/open debate, national emergencies, etc.