Spokespersons of the Filipino administration have released statements today admitting the government had hired a US public relations agency, Knead Gavin Anderson to get media exposure for President Benigno Aquino III week-long working visit to the United States.
Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ricky Carandang stated contracting the services of a public relations firm in a foreign country was “standard operating procedure” for visiting government leaders.
“When a foreign government or a government goes to a foreign country, they usually engage the services of different firms in order to help them get exposure to the US media,” Carandang said.
Hiring foreign PR firms is not new to Philippine chief executives. According to local reporters, past administrations were also said to have hired PR firms for important foreign visits, but were hesitant to properly disclose it.
“Elena Bautista-Horn, former president and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s spokesperson, admitted they also hired a PR firm before. Bautista-Horn was the chief of the Presidential Management Staff during the latter part of the Arroyo administration.”
While the current administration admitted to having hired the US agency to represent the President during his visit in the US, they have denied having paid one million US dollars for their services.
“It’s a modest amount,” Carandang said. “Modest amount even by Philippine standards.” (It has been revealed that the fee is $15,000.)
As a result of the PR campaign, President Benigno Aquino III has already been interviewed by the New York Times (according to the President’s staff, the interview was conducted by 6 members of the staff) and will be interviewed later today by the Wall Street Journal, followed by some future TV coverage of the visit.