Martin Andanar’s call to service
KAPATID DAY - Peachy Vibal-Guioguio (The Philippine Star) - July 23, 2016 - 12:00am

The winds of change it seems, under the new administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, have filtered into our Kapatid Network and taken in one of TV5’s stalwarts, Martin Andanar, under their wings. Martin was the head of News5 Everywhere, the online news video and audio portal of TV5, and anchor of Aksyon sa Umaga and Punto Asintado on Radyo5 92.3 News FM and AksyonTV, sister stations of TV5. He was the resident voice-over talent of the network, a role he thoroughly enjoyed up until the call to serve the country came. On June 30, he took over as the Secretary of the Presidential Communication Office under which includes the government’s news and information agencies, television and radio stations including PIA, PNA, PTV-4 and PBS-Radyo ng Bayan.

Last Saturday, our former president and now chairman of Philippine STAR, lawyer Ray Espinosa, hosted a farewell dinner for the new secretary. It was a fun time of reminiscing, ribbing and reckoning led by TV5 chairman Manny V. Pangilinan (MVP) as current and former colleagues came to wish Sec. Martin well.

In between the toasts and the non-stop eating at the posh Atelier Vivanda, I managed to sneak in a few questions to Sec. Andanar and below are some of his thoughts on his new appointment, his plans and his hopes for our country in this new administration. 

When the job was offered to you, what was the first thing that came to mind?

“When we were young, I always dreamed of serving the country because my grandfather used to be a public servant. While in Channel 5, I took extra steps to improve myself and primed myself for possible public service. I studied in Harvard, I went to Georgetown; in fact I took up my doctorate for Public Administration in UP which, unfortunately, I was not able to finish. So if you take a look at my credentials, it’s really geared towards that goal of knowing that one day I’ll be serving the government — to pay it forward and then this opportunity came.

Did you know President Rodrigo Duterte prior to your appointment?

“I’ve always promoted then Mayor Duterte for president since 2013 on the radio. While people from Manila did not think of him as somebody who can be president someday, I would always cite his accomplishments against crime in his hometown, Davao. The mayor heard about that, that we’ve been promoting him since 2013, so he sent his staff to look for me in Manila.

“My journalist break came when he agreed to be interviewed for my podcast (Martin’s Mancave), a first from a national network to do so. That’s how I really got to know him better as I had a good two-hour session with him. Later, I was invited to a Christening and the mayor was one of the godfathers so naging ‘kumpare na kami.’ And of course, there is a sort of kinship that binds people from Mindanao as I am from Surigao and Cagayan de Oro City (CDO) and I have relatives in Davao.”

What are your thoughts about leaving TV5?

“No other organization or TV network could have given me the same opportunity, because I started as a radio announcer in 1994 with the Manila Broadcasting Corp.  and then worked for the Yabut’s Nation Broadcasting  Corp.  

“One of my biggest dreams was to become a voice talent for a network or become a news anchor. I was able to do both in TV5. And a lot more, for which I consider myself blessed for being able to accomplish all the things that I wanted to do in the span of 14 years in the same network.

“I leave with a tinge of sadness as I have built personal relationships with my co-workers but I know my colleagues are happy and supporting me as I embark on my new role in the new administration. TV5 was a very good training ground and I am and will be forever indebted to my bosses, especially, MVP.”

What’s the biggest challenge for you now?

“The biggest challenge for me now one is streamlining the different departments’ communications process. Integrating Channel 4 and Radyo ng Bayan so we can create our own BBC; the challenge of working through the bureaucracy in government; political mapping, etc. — so many things to consider. It’s a tough job and the president always said that we don’t owe it to him, we owe it to the flag, and we owe it to the country and to the people.”

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