Press briefings at the Malacañang Palace tend to be underappreciated by the media.
The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte features two men who represent him during media engagements at the Palace. On one corner, there is presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, and on the other corner, there is Presidential Communications Operations Office chief Martin Andanar.
Both men have the responsibility of speaking with the media in behalf of President Duterte. Much of the conversation is usually directed on top media stories that affect the country, such as natural or man-made calamities, political controversies, and even the health of the President himself.
While the two are the primary voices of the Palace press briefing, they are also accompanied by other members of the Cabinet. They are here to discuss certain other issues that require immediate resolution.
Unfortunately, such live events are not taken for granted by a majority of media outlets in the country. Apart from the Radio-Television Malacañang (RTVM) which handles all live coverage involving the executive branch, only government station PTV-4 and private news network ABS-CBN News Channel have the privilege of bringing them live.
So where is the love as far as Palace press briefings are concerned? For some news networks, it seems like the appearances of Secretaries Abella and Andanar do not mean a thing, and that their only concern is with President Duterte himself.
Before making a negative reaction, here is the reason why news networks should also look at Secretaries Abella and Andanar. Their responsibilities as spokespeople behind the President are just as important in relaying information and opinion to both the media and the general public, even if they lack the powers that the President possess.
That said, the news media must carry these press briefings since these are deemed significant items to write about. After all, the President may be the country’s most powerful person, but even he/she can be human at times.
Overall, a press briefing at Malacañang Palace is just as necessary to cover as President Duterte’s speaking engagements. Whatever words Secretaries Abella and Andanar relay to the media will determine the country’s fate moving forward.