Andanar awaits Duterte decision on possible new post offer

MANILACommunications Secretary Martin Andanar on Monday said he will wait for President Rodrigo R. Duterte to make an announcement on a possible new post, which will be offered to him, should the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) be reverted to the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS).

Andanar bared this in an interview, noting that he had no plans to seek for public office amid reports that some members of Duterte's Cabinet will be running in next year's midterm elections.

I will wait for the President to divulge the information. And you know, it's difficult to say that I want this and I want that, Andanar told news anchor Karen Davila over ANC Headstart.

Andanar reiterated that all Cabinet members work at the pleasure of the President and he felt that as long as he could handle the position offered to him, he is ready to accept it.

If I feel that the position that can be offered to me is a position that I can work on and I can be good at, then yeah, sure, Andanar said.

Following reports showing that Andanar may be offered to replace Francis Tolentino as Duterte's political affairs adviser, the PCOO chief said it was a task he felt he is able to take on.

I've been a fan of political advisers. And it's essentially talking to the different politicians throughout country, the governors, the mayors, the congressmen, the senators; and creating that bridge that link between the Executive branch and the politicians, Andanar said.

Well, it's a job that I think I can do, he added.

On Saturday, Andanar bared that Duterte has offered to give Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque the press secretary post should the PCOO be reverted to the OPS.

Duterte earlier advised Roque against running in next year's midterm elections since he was not likely to win.

Roque, who filed a leave of absence, is yet to make a decision on the matter.

At present, Andanar said that Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea is currently studying the proposal to replace the PCOO with the OPS.

I've already given the draft executive order to Executive Secretary Bingbong Medialdea. He has the draft already from our office, and they're studying it right now, Andanar said.

Andanar said reverting back the PCOO to OPS is a sacrifice he is willing to make to keep Roque working for the government and shelve his plans to seek a senatorial post.

He (Roque) said that he would think about it over the weekend. The reason why I'm willing to take the sacrifice is because we were trying to convince Harry not to run anymore by 2019 because we need him in the communications arm, Roque said.

However, Andanar also welcomed the proposal to revert the PCOO to OPS since it could also revive functions of the OPS, which were lost when it turned into the PCOO during the previous administration.

The reason why I want to revert it to the Office of the Press Secretary is that apart from the reorganization, there are some functions of the Office of the Press Secretary that were slowly lost along the way, Andanar said.

He cited the presence of press attache as an example of functions, which the previous administration removed.

We don't have any press attache. For example, the United States, they have a press attache here, Andanar said.

I've asked the embassies overseas, in different missions, and they are all in one in saying that they lack the staff also so it's difficult for them to handle communications for the government. And I believe that the Office of the Press Secretary should be able to bring this position back on the table, he added.

During the previous administration, the OPS was split into the PCOO and the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO). The PCDSPO functions were already transferred to the PCOO.

Future plans

Although Andanar said he had no plans in running for public office anytime soon, he is open to running should the country shift to a federal system of government.

It depends. If it becomes a federal government, then I'll consider in the province, Andanar said.

I feel that I'll be more effective as a politicians or as a campaigners if it becomes a federal government, if I'm make a politician because I'm better versed in Bisaya than Tagalog and English, he added.

Asked if he would return to the private sector if Duterte did not have a post to offer him, Andanar, a former TV5 news anchor, joked about working for ABS-CBN. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency