Malacañang denied that there was a revamp in President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s communication group.
The reported revamp stemmed from the new setup after Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. started to take turns with Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda and deputy spokesman Abigail Valte in holding regular press briefings.
Under the new system, Coloma will hold media briefings every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Lacierda is tasked to hold briefings on Mondays and Wednesday, while Valte on Fridays and she will be interviewed over Radyo ng Bayan every Saturday.
Speaking to reporters, Valte said that the President has no hand in the changes, saying that it was Coloma who asked for it.
“We appreciate very much that Secretary Sonny Coloma has volunteered to at least go on rotation or to do alternate briefings with you because as we’ve mentioned to some of you who asked us yesterday, we have been here for three years,” Valte said.
”The responsibility is very heavy and we also appreciate the initiative of Secretary Coloma to at least share the responsibilities also with us,” she added.
Valte said that the new arrangement will allow her and Lacierda to focus on other responsibilities.
”At least, in my case and in the case of Presidential Spokesperson, as you know, the President requires us to be present in his briefings; and also, that does not include the fact that we are also called upon by other departments, agencies and bureaus to help in their communication efforts, as well as other special projects that have been given to us,” she added.
”So it will give us, it will allow us also to give more time, at least, for the other responsibilities that we’ve also been tasked with,” she added.
The Palace official recognized that there are “very multi-faceted challenges” for being the President’s spokesman.
”But apart from it, really, is the day-in and the day-out, at least for you guys, you know that I have no weekends because I was [tapped]to do the Saturday and Sunday briefings, so at least, you know, utmost I get a day in a week,” she said.
” Apart from being spokespersons, we’re also given other tasks and that is . . . That forms part of the challenge, apart from our usual preparations to meet you guys every day,” Valte added
For his part, Lacierda also welcomed Coloma’s initiatives, saying that he is “more than happy” to share the duties with him.
”Since we’ve been doing this for more than three years, we were more than happy to accommodate him as this frees our schedule to do our other work like our daily meetings with other government officials and stakeholders,” he said.
”In fact, I decided to give him Tuesday, Thursday and the Sunday radio briefing,” he added.
In a statement, Coloma confirmed that he “initiated discussions with Sec. Lacierda and Usec. Valte regarding the schedule of press briefings and my participation in such briefings.”
He said that he wants to help improve the administration’s communications work in decided to join the regular press briefings.
”All of our actions are in accordance with the President’s guidance and direction. We work together in endeavoring to communicate to our people the President’s key programs and messages in the most effective manner,” he added.