MANILA – Newly-reinstated Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday said he is going to push for the earlier broadcast schedule of President Rodrigo Duterte’s public addresses and meetings.
Roque explained that Duterte’s most recent public address was not delivered late at night, saying the message was pre-recorded and only aired just a few minutes before midnight.
To ensure more viewers get to watch his address, Roque said he will coordinate with state-run PTV-4 and Radyo ng Bayan and ask them to move the scheduled broadcasts earlier.
“Susubukan po natin na gawan ng paraan na lahat po ng mga mensahe ng Presidente ay mapaaga ang broadcast (We will try our best to find ways to air President’s messages much earlier),” he said in an interview over DZBB.
He said as long as meetings with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) end early, he will try his best to convince government channels to televise the addresses earlier.
“Tingin ko naman dahil maaga kaming natapos kahapon, pupuwede talagang na-ere nang mas maaga iyon (I think because we finished earlier yesterday, it really could have been aired much earlier),” he said.
Roque said Duterte did not really explain to him why he wanted him back. Instead, he was merely told that he was “needed.”
“Ang sinabi sa akin, ‘Kailangan ka namin,’ — so ako naman, siyempre narito naman po tayo dahil kahit papaano naman po ay naghahanap tayo ng paraan para makatulong (I was told, ‘We need you’ so me, of course I’m here because I’m also looking for ways to help in my own way),” he said.
He said being the President’s mouthpiece amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis is a big challenge, but vowed to perform to the best of his abilities.
The new presidential spokesperson also assured that he would use the Filipino language during most of his press conferences if necessary.
Roque, meanwhile, thanked Duterte for his continued trust in his abilities.
“Nagpapasalamat muna po tayo sa ating pangulo sa kaniyang pagtitiwala sa akin at ang aking marching order lang po sa ating Presidente e ipaalam sa taong-bayan kung anong ginagawa ng gobyerno lalong-lalo na sa hamong hinaharap ngayon. (I want to thank the President for his trust in me and my only marching order from the President is to inform the public about the government’s policies and projects),” he said.
He also allayed fears over concerns on his health, stressing that he got the approval of his doctor.
“Sabi niya eh mukha namang okay ka naman dahil ikaw ay nag-e-exercise, ikaw ay nagda-diet, nakikita ko naman na hindi ka lumulubo at nakikita ko naman na talagang iniinom mo lahat ng vitamins mo (He said you seem okay because you exercise, diet, and I can see that you’re not gaining weight and I can see that you take all your vitamins),” he said.
Despite his busy schedule, he said he will allot time to regularly exercise.
In October 2017, Duterte appointed Roque, replacing outgoing Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella.
Roque stepped down as Presidential Spokesperson in October 2018 to run for a seat in the House of Representatives under Luntiang Pilipinas party-list.
He later decided to run for a Senate seat against the advice of Duterte, who thought that he had a slim chance of winning.
He eventually withdrew from the senatorial race during the 2019 mid-term elections following the discovery that he is suffering from an unstable angina coronary disease.
A former House Deputy Minority Leader, Roque earned a reputation for defending the marginalized sector.
He represented the victims in the 2009 Ampatuan massacre, the rape victims of World War II, the kin of murdered transgender Jennifer Laude and the family of murdered broadcaster Gerry Ortega, among others. (PNA)