MANILA -- President Benigno Aquino III said Monday that his Cabinet officials will undergo a seminar on media relations to learn the basics in dealing with reporters.
“The seminar will be attended by most of the Cabinet members especially those who are new to government,” Aquino said in an ambush interview Monday at the Villamor Airbase in Parañaque City.
The President said it is important that his Cabinet men have good relations to the press, which serves as their mouthpiece in conveying his agenda to the people.
“The seminar is how to handle the media, how to improve relations with everybody. Kasi di naman normal skills yan, hindi naman tinuturo sa eskuwela how to get the message across (These are not normal skills, you are not taught in school how to get the message across),” he said.
Aquino decided to submit his Cabinet officials to the training following the unpleasant encounters between the media and two of his newly inducted secretaries.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, during his first press briefing in Malacañang last Thursday, lost his temper when pressed on the apparent flaws on the first memorandum circular issued by Aquino.
On Sunday, Education Secretary Armin Luistro was criticized by reporters covering the education beat for displaying "arrogance" when asked to comment about the issue on sex education.
Aquino apologized for the behavior of his Cabinet secretaries.
“We want to engage the people in the agenda that we have. So the best way is through the media,” he said.
Lacierda, meanwhile, said the President wanted his Cabinet men to undergo media relations training even before their recent brushes with journalists.
"During the first Cabinet meeting (on June 30), sinabi na ni Pangulong Aquino that all of us will be undergoing media seminar," he said.
The seminar, which starts Wednesday, will be done in three batches with three Cabinet members in each batch, said Lacierda.
Lacierda said this is not his first time to undergo seminar on media relations, citing his experience during the presidential campaign.
“The one that I underwent was really how to answer questions, how to phrase your answers and also how to comfort yourself especially when confronted with difficult questions,” he said.
On Monday, Lacierda had another encounter with a female reporter who complained about the official's failure to answer calls and text messages from the media over the weekend.
The Malacañang spokesman apologized and informed reporters that he had already asked for a deputy to help him. He, however, declined to identify his deputy.
“Pagpasensyahan nyo po kami dahil kami ay bago pa lamang, especially ako (Please bear with because we are new in this job, especially me),” he said.
Also on Monday, Luistro apologized to the media for his statement that the media are not being helpful in the sex education issue.
The education chief told the media during Monday’s flag-raising ceremony at his central office in Pasig City to give him more time to know the ropes of his new job.
Luistro said he will hold a dialogue with print and broadcast reporters covering the education beat to ensure that such incident would not happen in the future. (Jill Beltran/AH/Sunnex)