At this stage, Regional Director Purita S. Licas, in her almost 42 glorious years in government service, already has her share of triumphs and victories in the sensitive field of information.
Her career in public service started on May 7, 1974, as a reporter at the then Department of Public Information (DPI) which was reorganized in 1986 as the Philippine Information Agency (PIA). Due to her hard work, dedication and despite seemingly overwhelming difficulties, she steadily rose through the ranks up to her current position as Regional Director of PIA Region 02.
In all of her coverage as a writer up to the time she led the Philippine Information Agency Region 2 in 2008, Director Licas has been consistent in her information innovations and strategies, if only to bring the much-needed information to the public. Such information kept her clients abreast of what is happening around them, thus, helping the citizenry became aware of what the government is doing for their benefit.
Like the rest of successful woman managers in the government, she has been walking her extra mile, hoping that thru her agency’s interventions, the people and communities will assert their fundamental right---to know what government and elected officials are doing, what policies they are pursuing, what laws and regulations they are preparing, what programs and projects they are implementing, what international agreements they are negotiating and entering into and how they raise and spend the government’s fund.
Through her unique brand of leadership, Director Licas was able to employ unconventional strategies and advocacies which greatly contributed to the goal of the government for a well-informed clientele she vowed to serve. Such innovations include the development and institutionalization of the information sharing system which purpose is to standardize information sharing protocols between and among the regional and local information officers and designates all over the region.
She strongly believes in the power of information that she consistently devises ways and means to further reach out to the greater majority, particularly those living in the rural areas, through different communication channels. The innovation and unconventional strategies and personal techniques she labored in her long career as a journalist have created awareness that, despite shortcomings of government in some sectors, such have buoyed up the people’s desire to contribute to the over-all development efforts.
Aware that majority of the Local Government Units (LGUs) in Region 2 do not have plantilla positions for Information Officers, much less, an Information Office, she crafted a reference paper and presented the same to the members of the Regional Development Council for approval.
In 2015, the reference paper was endorsed by the RDC through a resolution, encouraging LGUs to establish their respective Information Offices or to designate their City/Municipal Information Officers which is deemed necessary to effect efficient information sharing between and among the regional and local government offices for the benefit of their constituents.
To date, the resolution has been adopted by almost all LGUs in the region resulting in the creation of some plantilla positions for Information Officers with separate Information Office and the LGUs’ designation of their respective Information Officers.
Her genuine concern for the people’s information needs has always been her adrenalin to continuously burn her midnight oil if only to bring her services when it is needed most. She knew that the government is cash-strapped that bringing relevant workshops and seminars to government agencies have somehow reduced the burden among the agencies.
In 2013, she organized the Informers’ Club (i-Club) Media Association, Incorporated, a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-registered civil society organization composed of media men in the government and private sectors. The i-Club has now become the most credible and sought-after media group in the region when it comes to coverages for government agencies and other institutions and even development-oriented private groups.
She was able to orchestrate virtually all media-related activities, programs, and projects of the regional line agencies and the local government units, including non-government organizations (NGOs). This effort aided the effective delivery of information and advocacies of the national and local governments in all forms through her strong linkages with media practitioners thus, placed the government in a comfortable image position and credibility to the people in the region
Compassionate under any media man’s standards, Director Licas has simply shown that under the most trying times of the government, the media, regardless of political affiliation and personal beliefs, can be united as one to serve as the mouthpiece of the government, thus improving the image of the State. Her commitment to public interest, professionalism, and responsiveness to the people’s need for information has gone far to improve public services.
She has been consistently responding to the information needs of the citizenry especially for the information officers, budding writers, and the youth sector. This is evident in the various invitations for her to serve as resource speaker and judge during schools press conferences for elementary, secondary and tertiary categories in different levels of competition, both local and national levels.
She has fostered good relationship with partner institutions, too. Her leadership acumen and ability to establish a good rapport with the stakeholders makes it easier for her to obtain their support. She is able to persuade them because of her knack for communicating to them the requirements and the mutual benefits for both parties. She also makes it a point to involve them by getting their inputs and providing them with the status of the project.
As a leader, she constantly assures that every task and assignment be impeccably done and executed with finest tangible outputs. This resulted in the consistently outstanding performance of the PIA Regional Office No. 2 from 2014-2016 rating periods.
She has the ability to make full use of resources, whether human, technological, financial, or information. She is able to spot peoples’ potentials, uncover and cultivate their capabilities and tap these to contribute to the PIA-Region 2’s strategic goals and accomplishments.
She always vouches for competence and public accountability. The PIA-2 personnel including partner-agencies and media practitioners admire her for being a diplomatic and humanitarian leader. However, when the agency’s performance is at stake, as a leader, she can also be demanding, meticulous and exert command within her scope of authority.
Her passion for work is very evident to her PIA-2 family. She acknowledges extra mile exerted by her people. As a leader, she trusts the judgment of her subordinates and not afraid to delegate bigger responsibilities to staff and readily guides them to perform. Her premise is that employees are hired because they can deliver.
Director Licas is very generous in sharing what she knows, alongside honing the raw talents of her people. She wants her staff to learn as much as they can and pushes them to further enhance their technical capacities through training, scholarships and other avenues for learning.
She has a keen eye for those who are dedicated and work hard. In fact, she sees to it that these acts are not taken for granted by giving praises even the smallest deeds of her subordinates.
Because of her ‘liberating’ work management, the agency never ceases in providing people with adequate information to help them make better decisions and identify opportunities that could improve their quality of life.
With her guidance in the region, PIA will continue to plan and carry out national and local information programs, to assist other government agencies in carrying out their communication and information projects, to determine the information needs of the people, to professionalize government information officers, communicators, and other media personnel through training and skills enhancement programs and to support the development of indigenous channels of communications and of communication capability and technology. (PIA)