Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar inspects the equipment of state-run Radyo Pilipinas in Calbayog City during his visit in Samar province in March this year. (Photo from the Facebook page of Martin Andanar)

TACLOBAN CITY — Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the national government will build its first strategic communications training center to capacitate state information officers on effective public and media relations.

The Department of Finance and Department of Budget recently approved the PHP100 million proposed budget of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) to build the facility in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.

Construction will start next year with a PHP50-million outlay. Another PHP50 million is needed to procure the needed equipment, Andanar told reporters in a press briefing at XYZ Hotel here Thursday afternoon.

“One thing I noticed is the lack of uniformity in government communication paradigm. Each department on the national level has different ways to do media relations and public relations. In the local government, it depends if the mayor is competent and media savvy,” Andanar said.

“For the government to solve this problem, we need a communications academy in the government to help do things properly.”

The facility will house an auditorium, large classrooms, meeting rooms, canteen, newsroom, and laboratory. The center will also maintain a community television, radio, news agency, and social media page.

Andanar said the local government of Manolo Fortich donated a two-hectare lot for the new center near a pineapple plantation and a state-run university campus.

The Bukidnon town is a strategic place to set up this communications center considering it is the gateway to major cities such as Davao City and Cagayan de Oro City, Andanar said.

Trainees from the new center will be toured in the Mindanao Media Hub in Davao. The facility is now 80 percent complete, according to Andanar.

The hub will house the People’s Television, Radyo Pilipinas, News and Information Bureau, Philippine News Agency, the Philippine Information Agency, the National Printing Office, Apo Production Unit, and other attached agencies under the PCOO.

“In a world where technology has impacted the news deliver and in the world with so much information and disinformation, the government should be ready to explain issues to the public,” he added.

The PCOO chief said he would talk with lawmakers to support the operation of the strategic communications center. House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano committed to donate all communication equipment to be used in the Southeast Asian Games to the new center. (PNA)