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Educating Martin

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar is a child and creature of radio-TV. Would he have a bias against the print medium?

Is that why he prefers the title to a straightforward “Press Secretary” as in the days of old? Ah, but the world has changed. Take his educational background. At 42 he has gone to more schools than a sexagenarian, and signed up in so many distantly or totally not-related short courses as entrepreneurial management, political and social studies, film and media studies. At least he had the staying power to earn a bachelor’s degree in political and social studies from the Federation University Australia, where his mother had enrolled him when he dropped out after one year in UP.

The list of schools is impressive, even if the courses were of short duration, like five weeks in the Harvard JFK School of Government. Georgetown and Lee Kuan Yew Institute of Public Policy, Asian Institute of Management also figure in his c.v. ; he was once a scholar of the US State Department. He had hit the glass ceiling, “what else was there for me to do?”

Martin was about to go into the fiber optics business with a partner in Bangkok when he was told to urgently cut short his trip by the Rodrigo Duterte who had just won the elections – a meeting that would seal his fate. Martin first met Digong in Davao after an emissary praised him for his pro-Duterte commentaries on radio and podcasts; the next time was at the baptismal party for the baby of emissary Emmy Nery (lawyer-Dutertist Emmy is married to Martin’s cousin). “My family didn’t know I was campaigning for Digong” as he was doing it discreetly because he was still with Action5.

If there are four Tulfo brothers, “I’m the fifth,” and though not from Davao, “I’m from Cagayan de Oro, still a Mindanaoan.” Martin Andanar has made mistakes, taken responsibility for those committed by the Presidential News Desk, and chewed out one Malacañang reporter. Isn’t it a tough sell interpreting a cussing, tough-talking President to foreigners? His reply: “He’s sold!” This from the man who couldn’t wait to call his boss a “rock star” at the ASEAN summit. (Jullie Y. Daza)