DUMAGUETE CITY – Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar on Thursday reiterated that the presence of the media remains a vital component in keeping democracy alive in our country.
During his radio interview on Power 91 FM, Secretary Andanar stressed that the media serves as the watchdog for government officials to do their sworn duty to serve the public.
“We need to keep our public officials on their toes all the time. Kinahanglan sila bantayan sa media para padayun ang atong free market space of ideas [ug] padayon pud ang atong pagbantay sa atong mga kauban sa gobyerno. This is for us, this is for you. Freedom of the press should be the one that would reign in a democratic society [We need to keep our public officials on their toes all the time. We need the media to have a free market space of ideas and as watchdog of our fellow employees in government. This is for us, this is for you. Freedom of the press should be the one that would reign in a democratic society],” he said.
He went on to discuss the landmark policies that the PCOO has promoted to ensure the safety and security of media workers while fulfilling their civic duties.
These are the signed Executive Order No. 2 on the Freedom of Information (FOI), the Administrative Order No. 1 creating the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), and the pending legislation of the Media Workers Welfare Act.
“Ang atong mensahe para sa atong mga kauban sa media, nagpabilin ang PCOO nga dedicated gyud sa media [Our message to our fellow media workers is that the PCOO is dedicated to look after your welfare],” he said.
“You have a Duterte government that cares. Mao nang ato ning ampingan ang gipirmahan nga Presidential Task Force on Media Security, ug ato gyud gi-push ang Media Workers Welfare Act. PCOO man gyuy nagpush ani [You have a Duterte administration that cares. That is why we keep this Presidential Task Force on Media Security. The PCOO will continue to push for the Media Workers Welfare Act as well],” he added.
Secretary Andanar also discussed the media facilities that will be built outside Metro Manila after the newly constructed Mindanao Media Hub in Davao City, namely the Government Communications Academy (GCA) in Bukidnon and the Visayas Media Hub in Cebu.
The construction of the GCA will start in the second quarter of this year, while the construction of the Visayas Media Hub is expected to begin next year.
The PCOO chief is also expecting that the Media Workers Welfare Bill, now pending at the Senate, will be passed into law this year.
Secretary Andanar joined President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, and other members of the cabinet for the inauguration of the twin Build, Build, Build infrastructure projects and other interventions prepared for turnover to small businesses and the health sector here.
“We are here to show the people, nga bisag naay COVID-19, ako sige’g libot sa Pilipinas para makit-an sa tawo, ma-feel nila nga naay national government [We are here to show the people that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we are visiting different areas in the country to show the people and let them feel the presence of the national government],” he said.
The lineup of activities kicked off with the visit of Senator Go at the Macias Sports Convention Center, where he led the distribution of assistance to market vendors and tricycle drivers.
Government agencies, including the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) turned over assistance to the beneficiaries.
Senator Go, who is the Senate Committee Chair on Health and Demography, also visited Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital for the formal turnover of additional Medical Fund Assistance for the established Malasakit Center there.
This was followed by the inauguration and unveiling of markers of the Dumaguete- Sibulan Airport and the two-story Port Operations Building (POB) at the Port of Dumaguete led by President Duterte and Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.