Philippine Information Agency Director General Ramon Cualoping III (File photo)
MANILA – Despite the shutdown of the country’s largest TV network, Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Director General Ramon Cualoping III on Monday said state media is doing its best to provide better national and regional coverage of Super Typhoon Rolly.
Cualoping came to the defense of state media after netizens claimed that the closure of ABS-CBN exposed “information gaps” in the reportage of calamities.
“There are opinions that have been circulating speaking of an “information gap” following the non-renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise. The Presidential Communications Operations Office wishes to correct the notion of this information gap,” he said in a statement.
In the advent of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Cualoping said the government activated its “Laging Handa” Crisis Communications platform that allowed private communications organizations to efficiently and effectively gather news and information from the concerned agencies, and distribute them on their respective media channels
Citing PIA, one of the attached agencies of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), he said the agency through its 78 provincial offices, has been on-ground, liaising with the provincial response teams and has been gathering and broadcasting information on the preparations, real-time situations, and relief operations.
He added that the PCOO has also enabled a wider reach for the periodic weather updates of Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) days before the onslaught of the typhoon.
The PCOO and PIA, he said, also sit in the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to monitor the situation even before the super typhoon made its landfall.
“The press conferences that many of us tuned into yesterday (Sunday) – although seen thru different media channels – were organized and enabled by the PCOO, through Radio Television Malacañang,” he said.
Cualoping also noted that the PCOO network itself – comprising 32 stations of the Philippine Broadcasting Service, the more than 23 stations of PTV and IBC, the 16 provincial bureaus of the Philippine News Agency, Bureau of Communications Services, the Spokespersons Guild, and the PCOO Proper – all contributed to the news and information gathering and distribution efforts.
He said the PCOO has taken a “whole-of-nation” and a “whole-of-community” approach to news and information gathering and distribution.
“Our content is now evolving to be less Metro Manila-centric and more balanced, with the widest distribution on-air, online and on-ground,” he said.
Cualoping said the PCOO has also partnered with private media through the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, to bring and draw relevant news and information.
“We thank the continuing cooperation of our media partners, especially the members of KBP, and the Philippine Cable and Telecommunications Association, Inc. and its nationwide member-cable operators,” he said.
He said the joint effort of state and private media “represent a collaborative footprint” that counts hundreds of physical points of presence.
Meanwhile, Cualoping also praised reporters and other workers in state and private media for “braving the storms to deliver accurate and relevant information and reach the most number of Filipinos.”
He also vowed to continue bringing more nationally and locally relevant news and information in the years to come. (PNA)