MANILA – Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar lauded the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to include media workers as essential workers in the priority list to be inoculated against COVID-19.
The IATF-EID on Thursday, April 15, 2021 released the approved list for the Priority Group A4 of the National COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Plan, which included frontline workers in private and government news media.
The appeal was granted through formal communication addressed by Secretary Andanar, who is also Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) Co-chairman, and PTFoMS Executive Director Joel Sy Egco to the said policy-making body.
“We laud the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) for heeding the call of the PCOO and the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) for including frontline media workers, both private and government, in the A4 priority group of the vaccine inoculation as indicated in the IATF-EID’s Resolution No. 110 under A4.9,” Secretary Andanar said in a statement.
Even during his previous engagements with the media as early as January, Secretary Andanar has already assured them his support for the protection of media workers, taking into consideration the risks they are facing in fulfilling their civic duty to inform the public during the pandemic. With this, he noted that the work done by media personnel are indeed essential workers.
“Their indispensable and invaluable contributions have provided us with important and life-saving information on all matters relative to the contagion and the responses of the Duterte administration,” he said.
“Hence, all frontline media workers are integral to the success of our fight as a nation against the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
The PCOO chief stressed that such a decision is another affirmation that the Duterte administration continues to recognize the significant contribution of media personnel in the country, and that they, too, should be protected from the health risks posed by the pandemic.
“Their inclusion as a priority in the ongoing vaccination program are among the reflections of the Duterte administration’s commitment to upholding and protecting the rights and welfare of media workers, especially during this pandemic as they are exposed to health risks and hazards as they carry out their work for the benefit of the public,” he said.