May 18, 2024

Presidential Communications and Operations Office (PCOO) Sec. Martin Andanar urged media practitioners in Baguio to support the media security and welfare bill pending before the Congress this year.

“How do we move forward? Gather together and be on one page. If we can make a councilor, vice mayor, mayor, President win, why can’t we win for ourselves,” he said during the media engagement here.

The draft bill has been submitted by the PCOO and the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS).

Andanar said the proposal if passed into law, will look into the general welfare of the media practitioners, the economic vulnerability of those in the sector, and address the issues on housing, regular employment, job security, health benefits, and medicare.

He said under the Duterte administration, several measures for the welfare of media practitioners and workers have been initiated. 

Andanar said some members of the media are the economically vulnerable as many of them are block timers who get sponsors to run their program and they get mixed up in the politics of their sponsors with their enemies or competitors.

“Our colleagues in the provinces have a high economic vulnerability. They become block-timers. They get sponsors who are more often politicians and that politician will order them to hit one another. Such will be the cause a person will get mad at the journalist and if they cannot be talked into a negotiation, then they will get a bullet,” Andanar said.

He said the PTFoMS, led by Usec. Joel Egco, was created by President Rodrigo Duterte to look after the welfare of every media practitioner in the country and go after the criminals who have assassinated or killed media workers.

Since its formation, it had been actively monitoring the case of the Maguindanao massacre which led to the killing of 58 people including 32 media practitioners on Nov. 23, 2009.

Andanar said the task force had been coordinating with the families of the victims, monitoring the development of the case.

“On the anniversary of the massacre under President Duterte, he invited the families of the victims and promised them that he will do everything to finally resolve the case.”

On Thursday, the trial court handling the Maguindanao massacre case gave a guilty verdict on most of the accused after 10 years. – PNA