news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

A Message to RTVM: Make the 11:00 A.M. Press Conference Mandatory

‘Mindanao Hour’ at Malacañang Palace has become a regular occurrence of late, with its frequent interruptions in programming becoming an annoyance to viewers. (Photo credit: Presidential Communications Operations Office)

The press conferences at Malacañang Palace have become a regular occurrence.

In the last few weeks, news networks cut their regularly scheduled programming short in order to air these press briefings live. But while they appear important to the average person, many do not appreciate Malacañang’s unexpected interruptions.

Most of these recent press conferences focus on the state of Mindanao, particularly Marawi, during the island’s implementation of Martial Law. The so-called ‘Mindanao Hour’ usually takes place at around or past 11:00 a.m., and is led by presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella and other speakers of interest, most notably AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla.

With the crisis in Marawi now reaching its 50th day (and counting), it all seems imperative for Malacañang to make the hourly press conferences mandatory for news organizations to follow. But so far, only the government-owned People’s Television Network, CNN Philippines and the ABS-CBN News Channel are the ones willing to air these events.

The rest? Some either broadcast these proceedings online or do not care at all.

If the Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) were to ask, is it high time to make these press conferences a regular program? Perhaps the time is now right to do so, given the frequency of the event.

However, if the news organizations were to ask, are they prepared to handle a mandatory event such as the Malacañang press conferences? They may agree, but they could make some sacrifices to make the briefings work.

That said, these regular interruptions in programming require the complete cooperation and concentration between RTVM and fellow news outlets. If they choose to make the press conferences mandatory, they must be in the same page to make it work, as long as it does not interfere with their regular programs.

It is nice to get some much-needed updates and information from the most reliable sources. But if they regularly do so in an unexpected manner, then it may become an annoyance to people.

Update: It was announced that ‘Mindanao Hour’ will only take place on Monday and Friday, with written statements issued from Tuesday to Thursday. However, expect Malacañang to issue more press conferences in relation to other concerns of national interest.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Thoughts on Lack of Attention Regarding Palace Press Briefings

 

Secretary Ernesto Abella (here pictured with DENR secretary Gina Lopez) is one of two primary voices behind a press briefing at Malacañang Palace. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Communications Operations Office)

Secretary Ernesto Abella (here pictured with DENR secretary Gina Lopez) is one of two primary voices behind a press briefing at Malacañang Palace. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Communications Operations Office)

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.

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