Andanar says no to Senate run in 2019; cites achievements in PCOO

MANILA -- Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar on Saturday said he never had ambitions of running for senator, amid reports that at least six members of the Duterte cabinet will be seeking a local or national post in the 2019 midterm elections.

Ay hindi. Never ko po talagang binalak na tumakbong senador. Wala, dito lang ako sa background. Mahina ako sa pulitika (No. I never had plans to run for senator. I prefer being in the background. I'm reserved when it comes to politics), Andanar said in an interview over DZMM.

Andanar said he was contented that under his leadership, the PCOO and its attached agencies including state-run PTV-4, Radyo Pilipinas, and the Philippine News Agency, among others, have vastly improved.

I've already done what -- I thought that I've already achieved my objectives for the government media, Andanar said.

Under his leadership, the PCOO and its attached agencies underwent several major reforms.

Andanar said the Philippine Broadcasting Service's AM and FM radio stations garnered a larger audience share "from nowhere in the rating" to higher spots, while the People's Television (PTV) Network is now number four in the ratings game.

The PCOO has also increased its social media presence with its official Facebook page garnering almost 1.5 million followers from just 200,000 followers before the Duterte administration.

Meanwhile, the Philippine News Agency (PNA) also launched a new website design after over three decades of using an outdated interface.

PNA has also forged a memorandum of agreement (MOA), among several others, with Hungarian media network, the Media Support and Asset Management Fund (MSAMF), to bolster the Philippines-Hungary ties through news exchanges and cooperation.

Andanar also said a Mindanao media hub facility is expected to be established to house the government media.

Moreover, the PCOO is bent on educating the citizens in countering the spread of fake news and disinformation through its "Dismissing Disinformation" campaign.

'Uson may run as congresswoman'

Andanar, however, confirmed that resigned Assistant Secretary Margaux Mocha Uson has been invited to run as congresswoman under a partylist group.

Marami kasing nag-aano sa kaniya, nag-aalok na tumakbong congresswoman sa partylist (There are many people inviting her to run as congresswoman under a partylist), Andanar said.

Reports showed that Uson has invited to run under the ACTS-OFW partylist. However, Uson herself has denied these rumors.

On Wednesday (Oct. 3), Uson announced her resignation during a Senate hearing, stressing that Congress was purposely delaying deliberations on the budget of the PCOO because of her.

She said her decision to leave her post was a sacrifice to allow the passage of the PCOO budget.

Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said there will be a major revamp in the Duterte cabinet as some members are expected to file their certificates of candidacies on or before Oct. 17.

Roque, however, assured that the President will not run out of appointees.

The President will not run out of appointees. For every Cabinet official that leaves there's probably a hundred people interested in one post. There will be no shortage of individuals to fill in the slots of vacancies to be vacated by Cabinet members who are seeking public office, Roque said in an earlier briefing.

Some officials who were reported to run for a national post include Uson, Roque, Special Assistant to the President Christoper Bong Go, and Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Francis Tolentino.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte earlier suggested that Roque should stay put in his position as presidential spokesperson since he will not win in next year's elections.

Roque said he will spend the whole weekend to study the President's suggestion. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency