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PIA Press Release

Gov't info officers in CV gather for 18th RADIO-7 Assembly in Cebu City

Cebu City (5 November) -- Over 60 government information officers from the different cities and municipalities in Central Visayas will converge in Cebu City for the 18th RADIO-7 Consultative Conference starting this afternoon until Friday.

RADIO stands for Regional Association of Development Information Officers.

Under the theme 'Information Officers: Advocates for Food and Energy Sufficiency Towards Peace and Security,' the three-day event highlights the presentation of two priority agenda of the Arroyo Administration.

Presidential Management Staff Sec. Cerge Remonde and Deputy National Security Adviser Luis 'Chavit' Singson are invited as main speakers tomorrow where Remonde will present the national government's 'Food and Energy Security' while Singson will talk on the 'Government's Internal Security Plan.'

Other presentations include the Cebu Province's poverty alleviation program dubbed the 'SakSak' Program by Board Member Agnes Magpale and the Philippine Energy Plan by the Regional Director of the Dept. of Energy Engr. Antonio Labios.

In this morning's weekly PIA Kapihan, Cebu Association of City and Municipal Public Information Officers (CAOCAMPIO) President Nelson Ares bared they have chosen the convention's theme as issues on food, energy and internal security are crucial factors to development while knowing the government's agenda on such critical concerns can best be communicated to the grassroots level through the different public information officers (PIOs).

RADIO-7 was officially created in 1988 by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) where the thrust of the agency was to mobilize PIOs of local government units to inform the people on the programs, projects and plans of the National Government to fast track economic and political development.

PIA-7 Officer-in-charge Minerva Newman during the same forum said the role of the PIOs is very crucial if we want to empower the people particularly in the grassroots level on the basic services available to the public by line national government agencies as well as government interventions on essential issues of the times and most importantly, the thrusts of the Presidency to lead the nation to progress.

Newman said this year, the country was beset with crucial problems like rising prices of energy that affected the prices of basic commodities as well as the continued in-fighting in Mindanao between government forces and communist rebels as its impact is not exclusive to the south alone but can also spread towards other regions including the Visayas. This is the major reason why government's internal security plan was included in tomorrow's presentation giving importance to peace to further move towards economic and political stability, Newman claimed.

The Association of Negros Oriental Public Information Officers (ANOPIO) President Eliseo Manlangit during the PIA forum lamented the perennial problem confronting the PIOs for decades. The position of an information officer is not a regular item but rather a designated one and is co-terminus with the term of the local chief executive which is one of the major reasons why not all PIOs are functional, according to Manlangit.

The Association of United Development Information Officers (AUDIO) - Bohol President Francisco Obedencio bared that out of about 45 cities and towns in Bohol, about 15 to 17 towns do not have their own PIO in spite of persuading the mayors of these areas on the important role of the PIO.

Manlangit added that this is the reason why there are always constant changes in the faces of the PIOs that sit in the association so there is no continuity and information work suffers.

Manlangit however, said the position of the PIO is optional and not mandatory so the only way this can be changed is to amend the Local Government Code making the position of a PIO as mandatory and not optional.

Newman said she recalled that in every RADIO Assembly this has always been a never-ending issue while several resolutions have already been filed previously to Congress to make the position of a PIO a permanent item and not optional but efforts proved futile.

Tomorrow night, the RADIO-7 will induct it new set of officers while on Friday, the PIOs will have the opportunity to watch the famous performance of the dancing inmates of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center and will visit the Museo Sugbo as well as the Cebu International Convention Center, the tour courtesy of the Cebu Province. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]

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