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New press secretary known next week

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
New press secretary known next week
President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. delivered a speech upon his arrival at the NAIA on Sunday (September 25, 2022).
STAR / KJ Rosales

MANILA, Philippines —  President Marcos is expected to announce next week his new press secretary – a post that he said should be occupied by an experienced media practitioner who can relay messages the government wants to convey.

Marcos said three individuals are being considered for the post but declined to identify them, saying it would not be fair to those who won’t be chosen.

“We’re down to a shortlist of three. So we’re whittling it down. It is forthcoming so I won’t have to face you,” the President told reporters in jest yesterday.

“Early next week we will announce,” he added.

Asked what qualities he is looking for in a press secretary, Marcos replied: “Yung kaibigan ninyo (A friend of the media). No, we obviously need somebody who is very experienced... probably a journalist or a media practitioner.

“That’s what we need. One who is capable of messaging so that the messages we want to relay will really come out. That’s what’s important that we get the information, the messaging across,” he said in Filipino.

Former press secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles has resigned from her post for health reasons.

Among those reportedly being considered to replace her are Metro Pacific Investments Corp. executive Mike Toledo, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. board of directors member Gilbert Remulla, Transportation Undersecretary Cesar Chavez and film director Paul Soriano.

Toledo, who was press secretary during the time of former president Joseph Estrada, has said he was not aware if he was in a shortlist of people being considered for the post. He added that it would be an honor if indeed he were.

Chavez has confirmed that he was one of the persons being eyed to be the next press secretary. But he clarified that he was concentrating in the rail sector and that he was not interested in the post.

Remulla, brother of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla and a former broadcaster, has said he was in a process of “deep discernment” but is also concentrating on his role as PAGCOR director.

Soriano, a relative of First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, told ABS-CBN in a recent interview that he could be of better service behind the scenes working with Marcos’ communication team.

While Angeles is out of the Cabinet, Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan Uy has been reappointed and took his oath before Marcos yesterday. Uy is one of 12 Cabinet members whose ad interim appointments were bypassed by the Commission on Appointments due to lack of time.

Promises to the media

In a speech delivered before officers and members of the Manila Overseas Press Club in Pasay last Wednesday, Marcos vowed to be open to members of the media and to protect their rights.

“As I share your club’s conviction in the importance of upholding the universal right of free speech and press freedom as well as giving and receiving accurate information, I’m committed to remain open with you, constantly communicating our progress as we move forward,” the President said.

“Under my lead, we will support and protect the rights of the media as they efficiently perform their duty. Whatever difficulties we may encounter from this point on, the government will always be ready to lend an ear and to listen to your concerns and to answer all that you may want to know,” he added.

Marcos made the promise days after veteran radio broadcaster Percival Mabasa was shot dead in his vehicle in Las Piñas City. Malacañang has expressed concern over the incident and has ordered authorities to ensure that the probe on the ambush will not be hampered.

In the same speech, Marcos said the media plays a crucial role in building an “active citizenry” that contributes to the development of society.

“The nation counts on the media in improving access to information and increasing awareness on issues that affect our country and the world. Your proactive participation in keeping a well-informed citizenry forms part of our collective goal to empower Filipinos and establish a more robust Philippines,” the President said.

MARCOS JR.

TRIXIE CRUZ-ANGELES

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