Andanar: PH News Agency 'did not lack' training for editors
MANILA, Philippines – Despite a series of “embarrassing” mishaps at the government-run Philippine News Agency (PNA), Communications Secretary Martin Andanar insisted they “did not lack” in training editors of the agency and making sure government’s newswire service was in tip-top shape.
The PNA’s latest booboos took the spotlight on Tuesday, August 15, as the House appropriations committee tackled the Philippine Communications Operations Office (PCOO)’s proposed P1.351 billion budget for 2018.
Speaking to legislators, Andanar said they inherited a PNA that was “run to the ground” – apparently meaning rundown. The equipment was outdated and many of the employees used their own laptops to do work, he said.
“I told myself I’d focus on the PNA, and I did,” said the former TV news anchor, noting that the PNA then had no social media presence, no mobile application, and an outdated website.
“Hindi po kami nagkulang sa pag-train ng mga editors natin. Pinadala po natin 'yung mga editors natin sa ibang bansa at doon po sila nag-train. So lahat ng pansin, ibinigay natin sa PNA,” he added. (We were never lacking in training our editors. We sent them abroad to train. All the attention, we gave to PNA.)
Andanar also admitted it was difficult to recruit talent because of the relatively low pay at the PNA.
The agency has been in hot water the past weeks and months.
Most recently, it mistakenly used a picture of plant and vegetable producer Dole Philippines to accompany a press release from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
“One year na po at naglabasan, napansin po ng madla. Bakit po napansin ng madla ang kapalpakan ng PNA? Sapagkat binabasa na po ang PNA ngayon. May social media presence, bago na yung website, may mobile site,” said Andanar.
(One year later and most people are noticing PNA. Why are they noticing the mistakes of PNA? That’s because people read PNA now. It has a better social media presence, the website is new, there is a mobile site.)
Earlier in the hearing, Andanar recounted the growth of different social media accounts under the department. Accounts for PTV and Presidential Communications, which collectively had less than 40,000 followers, now have over 1 million Facebook followers each, said Andanar.
Andanar said they have plans to expand their services to an “online newscast” by September 2017.
The proposed PCOO budget was approved by the appropriations committee. – Rappler.com