By Prince Golez
The powerful Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday confirmed the ad interim appointment of Atty. Cheloy Garafil as secretary of the Presidential Communications Office (PCO).
“Bilang isang simpleng kawani ng gobyerno, isang malaking karangalan po sa akin na ako ay maimbitahan ng ating Pangulo na maging bahagi ng kanyang Gabinete. Nang ako po ay tawagin niya upang maging bahagi ng PCO hindi ako nagdalawang isip sapagkat bilang isang dating journalist at public relations practitioner batid ko kung gaano kahalaga ang papel ng PCO sa pag siguro na maipahatid sa ating publiko ang tamang impormasyon ukol sa mga programa at polisiya ng gobyerno,” Garafil said in her statement.
“Sa limang buwan ko po bilang OIC at Secretary ng PCO, nagkaroon ng maraming pagbabago ang ahensiya. Kami po ay nag reorganized upang mas maging streamlined ang mga opisina ng Office of the President na bahagi sa pagbibigay ng impormasyon. Patuloy din po ang pag-aaral namin sa mga attached agencies at GOCCs upang mas maayos itong magamit ng ating pamahalaan,” she added.
The PCO chief acknowledged that her job will be a “tough endeavor” in an age when information is easily accessible with the click of a finger.
“There is also a proliferation of fake news. We at PCO will have to make sure and likewise watch ourselves to ensure that we only share facts and truth,” according to her.
Meanwhile, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri vouched for the hard work and integrity of the Cabinet official.
“I had an opportunity to travel with her in colleagues during a presidential trip. Siya yung isang tao na halos walang tulog, halos walang pagod. At nung natapos na kami sa presidential visit, nahuli ko siya sa Don Quijote, nakaupo lang sa isang kanto dahil pagod na pagod siya, nakaganun yung ulo niya, ang that’s a Philippine secretary, very low profile. And I must say she’s very well loved and very well liked by not only the members of the Malacañang family but also by the media,” said Zubiri.
Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Christopher “Bong” Go, and Loren Legarda also expressed their strong support for Garafil’s confirmation.
“With her experience in communications, law as well as her impressive public service record, I am confident that she’s the right person for this critical role. Secretary Garafil is an experienced professional who understands the complexities of the communications industry and has a deep knowledge on how to best engage the media in a way that resonates with the public,” said Go.
For her part, Legarda said that Garafil would be “fitting” for the job citing her learnings being an E-MNSA (Master in National Security Administration) graduate of the National Defense College of the Philippines.
“I know that it is important in this day and age to know the national security aspect of the media. I think there’s very few of those in government who would know the national security implications of the work we do,” she also said.