MALACANANG on Tuesday assured that process of forming President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s communications group was based on thorough study and consultations.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the formation of the new agency is allowed under the revised administrative code.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

“Under the revised administrative code, the President has a continuing authority to reorganize the Executive Branch.”

Lacierda declined to confirm that they have abolished the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS), stressing that they have reorganized the office which they preferred to call as communications group.

He said the previous OPS structure was already outmoded prompting them to restructure it. “I mean, you’ve got a lot of attached agencies which really do not function. We really do not see harmony, that’s why we need to rationalize everything.”

“It is also in line with President Aquino’s idea of how communication should be. So we took it from how he would like how communication should be fashioned within the government and how we should respond to the needs of the people and their concerns,” he added.

Under the new setup, the department will be divided into two groups: messaging and dissemination.

Apart from the function of the current OPS, Lacierda said the new communications group is tasked to deliver news 24/7.

“The Office of the Press Secretary is not designed to handle the 24/7 cycle of present news. We now have a 24/7 news cycle that’s why we need to address that situation, we need to address the concerns,” he said.

He guaranteed the media could expect answer from the communications group anytime of the day especially when times of disaster.

“I can assure you that we will all be there—that is our commitment to the Filipino people,” he said.

The expansion of the communications group will not affect the expenses of the group since the two teams will still work as one, Lacierda assured.

He also downplayed the factor of having factions due to different appointees heading the groups.

“We were already discussing how it’s going to turn out, how the whole presidential communications office will be working with each other and making sure that the message and the dissemination is done properly. So there is no faction—we are one unified team and we are here to advance the advocacies of the President.”

Lacierda denied that the structure of the communications group was patterned similar to the media group in the United States.

“We fashioned the structure based on our own needs. But we viewed other models as well. But essentially, it is a structure that we agreed upon,” he said.

There will be no announcement of the composition of the group until the Executive Order is finalized and signed. It is not yet sure if the announcement will be made by Wednesday or Thursday. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)