Not so integrated terminal

CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - November 12, 2018 - 12:00am

Returning to the ring as Presidential Spokesperson has undoubtedly been a painful if not a trying comeback for Secretary Sal Panelo. Within weeks, Panelo has been subjected to the equivalent of cross-examinations from some members of the Malacanang Press Corp on certain actions or declarations of President Duterte. Some may say that he has no one else to blame since he accepted the job. Truth be told, no one wanted it and within the walls of Malacanang there seems to be the scary reality that when the President gives you a job, you can hardly say no. Being asked by any President plays into ones patriotism, a recognition of one’s abilities and for many not just the highest compliment but an “Honor” that many cannot turn their back on. The worst is if no one else wants it.

Panelo’s job is a thankless task given how some members of the Press have become so dependent on Malacanang for information that they would rather grill officials for sound byte instead of “walking their beat” or building up their story the good old fashion way; through research and multiple sources of information. I’ve even observed some senior correspondents to be so at home at the briefing room that they slouch in their seat or stretch out their legs while taking notes or asking questions to whom ever is giving the briefing.It is as if their familiarity and seniority in the beat has entitled them to ownership of the seat or one square meter of the briefing room.

Gone are the days of formality or decorum perhaps even respect of the position if not the person. Perhaps it is time for the owners and bosses of News agencies and correspondents to review their engagement and behavior towards Malacanang to determine if the relationship remains truly professional not just in work but in countenance and engagement. It is also worthwhile considering the length of assignment or stay at this particular beat. Both private and public sector have long realized that rotation of personnel done on a regular basis, often after 2 to 3 years, benefits the organization as well as the individual.The same holds true for Media.

Media practitioners have looked at becoming a Malacanang Correspondent as the “pinnacle” or the highest post in the career of a correspondent or a Journalist.After that, you either get promoted by being tied down to a desk job as associate editor or Editor in chief. Many journalists manage to accelerate or move on, but there are some who fail to develop an exit plan and hold on to the assignment for dear life. As a result they are constantly trying to prove their worth and justifying their continued stay at the post. These veterans should be developed as mentors, trainers, even media icons, who can train the incoming newbies, familiarizing public and private organizations about media engagements and promoting the importance of media to college and high school students so that our generation now, can preserve and insure the continuity of media and Press freedom in the future.Holding on to the assignment simply brings out the bad in some people.

As for the PCOO, some things certainly need to be changed including professionalizing and expanding their engagement with media and not just limiting it to reporters and editors. Engage the owners, bosses and investors.

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I have yet to see or visit the PITX or Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange but since the first day the DOTr announced that the PITX was opening soon, my team and I already considered the possibility of featuring the PITX on our show AGENDA. Good news and completed projects of government are not rolled out on a daily basis so when we hear about one,there is a sense of obligation as citizens to help government promote the good news. The only problem is some people at the DOTr simply don’t know the meaning of consultation and coordination as well as studying different scenarios and complications that could sabotage the launch and public acceptance of government projects.

So here we have a modern and humongous Land transport terminal designed to link provincial buses with city buses – UV express and other types of public transport. This in turn is suppose to put an end to provincial bus terminals and buses adding to the traffic and congestion in Metro Manila. So far so good, until Cavite bus operators exposed the government’s plan to give “City Franchises” to 300 suspiciously favored buses so they can continue to drive through EDSA and parts of Metro Manila and not have to stop or use the PITX! The fault can only be with someone somewhere at the DOTr, LTFRB or the Metro Manila Council (MMC). My suspicion would be the last two since the LTFRB deals with franchises and the MMC involves mayors and their constituents including owners of terminal buses.

I’m sure some justification will be provided by someone this week, but the damage is already done in the sense that even before a good project was off the ground, someone’s poor judgment or vested interest immediately sabotaged any goodwill the government could have earned. Secretary Art Tugade really has to look into the matter, because this sort of thing is the thorn on his back that needs to be pulled out and burned. Either way, congratulations on the PITX and while they’re dealing with the controversial “Special City Franchise,” the LTFRB might also want to look into the immediate adjustments of fares so commuters don’t end up paying much more for having to take two or multiple rides not to mention the slightly longer trip.

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