PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar (File photo)

MANILA – Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar lauded Friday the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) for including media workers in the A4 priority group for the inoculation of vaccine against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
This, after the IATF-EID on Thursday approved the recommendation of PCOO and the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) to make front-line workers in private and government news media fall under the A4 category.

Andanar, also serving as PTFoMs co-chairperson, said the IATF-EID’s approval reflects the Duterte government’s vow to ensure the safety and security of media workers in the country, especially amid the Covid-19 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 in a press statement.

Andanar and PTFoMS Executive Director Joel Sy Egco earlier sent a formal communication to the IATF-EID to request media members' inclusion on the A4 priority list.

The initial plan was to include media in the B classification with other workers in the society, but the IATF-EID, in its Resolution 110, placed media workers under the A4.9 group.

Andanar welcomed the IATF-EID’s move, saying front-line media workers must be recognized as among the essential workers “who have worked tirelessly and have risked their lives to fulfill their duties.”

“The media should truly be included in the A4 priority group, along with other individuals who play a significant part in our seamless and uninterrupted societal activities. We have seen firsthand the importance of their work in delivering news and information to every household, especially when the pandemic started to unfold and interrupted traditional work arrangements,” he said.

Andanar also stressed that front-line media workers are playing a vital role to ensure the success of the country’s fight against Covid-19.

“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,” Andanar said.

Andanar said media workers should be protected from the health risk posed by the coronavirus.

He reminded them to continue observing health protocols while waiting for their turn to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

“As we wait for our turn to receive the vaccine, through the ongoing vaccine inoculation, let us continue to observe all health protocols to ensure that we contribute to the collective fight against the virus, and play our part in the healing and recovery of our nation,” Andanar said. (PNA)