PCOO underscores vital role of media in nation-building
By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — The government continues to recognize the media as a vital sector in nation-building, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said.
“In nation-building, media is a non-negotiable sector that we should work with, that is why we are engaging (them) now,” Andanar said during a meeting with media workers in Bulacan on Saturday.
Andanar said the administration remains committed to assist journalists in the Philippines through government-led efforts, such as the formation of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), the launch of the press freedom caravan, and the newest — increasing media engagement both with national and provincial media.
“In the first few weeks of 2019, we already went to Dapitan, Dipolog, Cebu, Nueva Ecija, Cavite, Cagayan de Oro, Pampanga, and now Bulacan to meet the press,” he said.
“(We are strengthening) media engagement because I believe it is only through media engagement that I will be informed what issues in different regions they face. Once we know the issues, we can now create media solutions,” he added.
During the meeting, one attendee sought the PCOO’s assistance in lobbying for the increase in media workers’ salary, particularly those in the newspapers, whom some are still receiving meager space rates or column inch basis of payment per story.
Given the publications involved are private-owned, Andanar explained that the agency has no power to influence them and suggested that the group should form a guild with other media organizations, where they can collectively voice out issues to the concerned management.
“There should be a guild composed of all media organizations here who can fight for our rights. (As PCOO secretary) we cannot govern you and we cannot meddle in your management,” he said.
Meanwhile, he assured those present that the agency is ready to extend media workers any assistance it can provide within its capacity.
“First, the handbook of the PTFoMS here translates our effort to ensure the security of all mediamen in the Philippines. In this book, we have the PTFoMS hotlines where you can call 24/7,” he said.
“Number two, we are implementing the media government bridge policy in our bid to help our fellow media workers in any way we can,” he added.
Andanar was in Bulacan to “establish good relations” with the media in general and as part of the agency’s “media government bridge” policy.
During his trip, the PCOO chief also had a meeting with Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado. (PNA)