MANILA — The House of Representatives on Wednesday terminated the plenary deliberation on the PHP1.698-billion budget of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) for 2020.

The proposed PHP1.6-billion budget for 2020 of the PCOO, the lead communications arm of the government, is 12 percent higher than this year’s budget of PHP1.4 billion.

During the floor interpellation, Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza pushed for a bigger PCOO budget next year for the effective dissemination of information to the public about the Duterte administration’s programs.

Atienza said good governance requires effective communication, noting that the proposed budget of the agency for next year is “measly” and cannot be compared with the huge funding of major networks in the country.

“The PCOO should make sure that they have effective communication so that President Duterte will succeed in his vision for a better life in the Philippines,” Atienza said.

“I’m addressing the committee on appropriations, the DBM (Department of Budget and Management), and everybody who is equally concerned as this representation… If we cannot increase their budget now, one, let us not lower it; two, next year, let’s even triple their budget so that the Philippines will become a successful economic power in this region of the world,” he added.

The PCOO budget shall be distributed as follows: PHP764 million for personnel services, PHP719 million for MOOE and PHP213 million for capital outlay.

The PCOO was created in 2010 by virtue of Executive Order No. 4.

It mandates the PCOO to serve as the premier arm of the executive branch, engaging and involving the citizenry and the mass media to enrich the quality of public discourse on all matters of governance and build a national consensus.

The PCOO’s mission is to serve as the primary vehicle 1) for consciousness-raising, constituency building and social mobilization and 2) to support the policies, programs and projects of the presidency. It is also mandated to serve as a tool to inform, educate and enlighten the citizenry on matters of national importance to deepen their civic engagement. (PNA)