Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said PCOO found it an opportune time to bring the press freedom caravan in Brussels and Geneva to "maximize" the official trip.
PPD, File
Andanar says no public funds wasted in Europe press caravan
Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - February 18, 2019 - 8:47pm

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar claimed no public funds were wasted in the trip, which he said was necessary to clarify some issues confronting the government.

He said officials of his agency were sent to Europe to clarify issues like "involuntary disappearances" and "anti-communist terrorist groups."

"Rest assured no public funds are wasted in this official mission which came about from a directive from the National Security Council," Andanar said in a statement Monday.  

"All engagements in Bosnia, Brussels and Geneva are all part of PCOO (Presidential Communications Operations Office) mandate to deliver and disseminate information relation to policies, programs, and achievements of the president and executive branch," he added.

  READ: PCOO to hold Europe caravan to explain to int'l media Duterte not behind Ressa arrest

Andanar said PCOO might also set up and maintain local and international field offices to ensure that accurate information from the president and the executive branch is promptly and efficiently relayed.

He said the arrest of Rappler chief Maria Ressa happened two days after the official delegation left for Europe.

"Nobody from the delegation was aware it was coming. In any case, it is just natural for me to instruct the PCOO officials in Europe to answer possible queries about Ms. Ressa," Andanar said.

Andanar said, PCOO, being a committee member of the National Task Force to end communist armed conflict, "provides communications support in terms of messaging and content to the anti-communist terrorist groups efforts."

"The engagement of PCOO in the NTF alongside relevant agencies of gov’t in the security cluster is necessary in the adoption of a national peace framework as directed by the president by putting together the context, messaging and communication plan for the whole-of-nation approach to be executed by the NTF," he added.

Andanar said PCOO found it an opportune time to bring the press freedom caravan in Brussels and Geneva to "maximize" the official trip. He said the PCOO has been holding caravans locally and internationally to bring government to Filipinos.

READ: Pangilinan questions PCOO’s ‘press freedom caravan’ in Europe

MARIA RESSA MARTIN ANDANAR PRESS FREEDOM RAPPLER
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