Make them talk
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - June 10, 2019 - 12:00am

James, the Apostle of Christ teaches us how a little kindle can burn a forest and how a small rudder can turn a ship, and in like manner, the tongue can get all of us into trouble. It is high time for personalities who’ve entangled themselves in the Tulfo versus DSWD Secretary acoustic war to go to their respective corners and read the book of James before the entire incident gets out of hand.

The PCOO and the office of the CabSec or Secretary to the Cabinet should already step in and get to the bottom of the problem that has already gotten out of hand and has turned into a “Game of the Generals,” a war on the Tulfos, and a public display pissed-offness between people who all belong to President Duterte’s corner. The real problem stems from the refusal of certain Cabinet Secretaries to guest on TV and Radio talk shows and not just on Erwin Tulfo’s program. What many don’t know is that the DSWD Secretary simply does not give interviews to the media, just like the Secretary of the DILG won’t sit down with talk show hosts like myself. He will talk in ambush interviews but feels it’s a waste of time to go to TV stations.  In fact one cabinet Secretary who is also a PMAer told me that I should train these guys in Media engagement and Strategic Communications so they can understand the value and importance of communications.

The DSWD Secretary overlooks the fact that Erwin Tulfo is with the government broadcast station and is therefore on his side or the same team. In addition, Erwin Tulfo is one of the few people on the planet who gets to interview the President himself, as such one would imagine that a team member would have the courtesy and appreciation that the interview is all about promoting the government’s Social welfare programs. Speaking from experience, I know how frustrating it can be when you’re trying to do your job, trying to be supportive of the government, only to hit a dead end because the person in authority who stands to benefit the most does not have the good manners or professional conduct to honor your invitation.

I understand the reluctance of government officials to speak on burning issues due to gag orders or political realities but that is not an excuse not to reach out or even better, to break bread with them. When I sent a message to “Tito Sonny” a.k.a DOF Secretary Dominguez how frustrated I was being unable to guest him on my show AGENDA, he had the class and the humility to invite me for lunch at the DOF during which we talked all about cars but never about taxes! My other “Tito” Frank Drilon did likewise and he was glad to be reminded of how successful he was in politics when he actively engaged media particularly radio “announcers.”

In my first year hosting Agenda, I regularly walk through hundreds of people everyday all of whom are calling on the public service program of Raffy Tulfo and TV-5. When asked why, they all say they were there because media gets faster results and are less difficult to deal with in terms of requirements and inter-action. Every time I go through the crowd of desperate people, I am reminded to be thankful of the blessings I have in life. But it also reminds me that there is something very wrong with the government’s public service program and that includes the DSWD.

The PCOO and the CabSec seriously need to talk with Cabinet secretaries and agency heads about their No Talk policy and make them Talk!

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The current controversy concerning PhilHealth payments is old news that is being recycled and refried for numerous reasons. Word is that some corrupt officials and medical practitioners are behind the exposé in order to get rid of the current leadership that’s determined to remove the Mafia inside PhilHealth. In order to do this, the mafia needed someone foolhardy enough to lead the charge not knowing it’s a set-up. Ultimately in terms of the big picture there are external forces such as unethical physicians and medical facilities that are out to deter “The Change” that has been happening at PhilHealth.

It’s “Old News” because such cases of fraud have been and continue to be “investigated and acted on as early as last November 2018” under the new administration of PhilHealth president Dr. Roy Ferrer. In fact one of the publicized campaigns of PhilHealth is its Anti-Fraud and Anti-Corruption campaign that PhilHealth has even advertised on the pages of the Philippine Star. When PhilHealth crafted its Strategic Communications plan, top priority was given to the forming of an Anti-Fraud group composed of lawyers and financial technical experts of PhilHealth. Ferrer was so confident in the matter that instead of criticizing PDI he actually thanked the Philippine Daily Inquirer for the belated exposé because “it is through these media expose’s that the PhilHealth will be able to know and act on such matters.”

While exposés are good, the recent retelling and hyping of corruption within PhilHealth by the Ex-presidential Spokesperson has apparently backfired on Atty. Harry Roque. If Roque sincerely wanted to fix the problems or address what he saw was corruption, why did he not go to Dr. Ferrer or to Secretary Francisco Duque who sits on top of the PhilHealth Board? As a result, Roque’s motives are now cast with doubt because his recent statements in media have been sweeping accusations of fraud and corruption against the entire PhilHealth organization without naming names or providing particulars. Whatever his real motives may be, it should not be at the expense of the reputation of the institution and PhilHealth employees.

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