Can a president-elect use PTV4 for official announcements?
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – He will take his oath of office on June 30 yet, but president-elect Rodrigo Duterte has already opted to stop attending press conferences and instead course announcements through press releases and state-run television station PTV.
“Sa ngayon walang press con para walang mali (No more press conferences so there is less room for mistakes),” Duterte’s longtime aide, Bong Go, told media Friday evening, June 3. Go could not answer whether Duterte would also be shying away from chance interviews – or “ambush interviews” in local parlance.
On Saturday, June 4, organizers of Duterte’s thanksgiving part in Davao City surprised media by announcing only PTV and Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) would be allowed in the media area it has previously prepared. That means only PTV and RTVM cameras will be shooting the program itself, including Duterte’s speech.
RTVM and PTV will then share the footage with media groups here – an arrangement done in coverages of the president, visiting heads of state, and other international fora hosted by the Philippine government such as last year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Summit and related meetings.
“PTV’s duty is to inform the people of vital news factually and in a timely manner,” Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said in a text message to Rappler. Coloma was asked about the protocols in place should a president-elect opt to communicate to media solely through the state-run channel.
“It is the primary broadcast channel of the national government, along with Radyo ng Bayan. In our existing protocols, announcements on presidential policies and issuances are first broadcast to all media outlets simultaneously or if this is not possible, these are announces first through PTV and/or Radyo ng Bayan,” added Coloma.
Coloma, as head of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), oversees RTVM and state-run media such as PTV4 and Radyo ng Bayan or dzRB.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte, and Coloma himself typically grant media briefings and interviews through dzRB during weekends. Palace briefings on weekdays are aired on PTV and dzRB.
Asked about Duterte's exclusive use of PTV and RTVM weeks before his inauguration on June 30, Coloma said in an interview on dzRB Saturday that it's a "non-issue."
"This is how I see it: the mission of the People’s Television is to deliver true and important information to the people. So if that would come from the president-elect, PTV would air it. There's no issue there because that's really the mission of PTV," he said in Filipino.
PTV, created through Republic Act 7306, is not merely a government mouthpiece, as many would presume. The network’s functions include:
- To serve primarily as a vehicle for the State for purposes of education, science and technology, arts, culture, and sports in order to foster national pride and identity
- To serve as a vehicle for bringing the government closer to the people in order to enhance their awareness of the programs, policies, thrusts, and directions of the government
- To ensure that the programs broadcast by the Network maintain a high general standard in all respects, and in particular, in respect to their content and quality and proper balance of educational, news, public affairs, entertainment, and sports programs
- To serve as an effective outlet for alternative programming
- To provide subsidized air time to legitimate people's organizations NGOs in the promotion of their programs and projects
- To serve as an effective medium for national unity and political stability by reaching as much of the Filipino population as possible through the effective use of modern broadcasting technology
It's mandate is also to ensure that nothing is included in the programs broadcast by the network which shall:
- Offend public morals, good taste, or decency
- Offend any racial group or promote ill-will between different races or different public groups, prescribing such programs as would promote strictly partisan politics and propaganda
- Offend the followers of any religious faith, sect, or order
- Outrage public feeling in general
RTVM, meanwhile, is tasked with documenting the sitting president’s official functions and activities, including providing “coverage and broadcast production of events of national significance and special celebrations involving the Presidency,” among other things.
RTVM is in charge of the broadcast set-up of live coverage of President Benigno Aquino III’s activities – including political rallies he graced when he was still campaigning for defeated Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II and vice president-elect Leni Robredo.
RTVM personnel are in Davao City and will be part of the team handling video coverage of the Duterte thanksgiving party.
“RTVM is briefing and acquainting president-elect Duterte’s team on coverage of presidential events as part of transition,” said Coloma, when asked why RTVM was also involved in the thanksgiving party. – Rappler.com