RECOGNIZING the nature of their work and important role in keeping the public informed about the pandemic, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go lauded the national government for including media workers in the list of essential sectors to be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination.
“Nagpapasalamat po tayo sa national government dahil dininig nila ang ating apela na isama ang mga miyembro ng media sa priority list para sa bakuna laban sa COVID-19,” said Go.
The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) is set to finalize guidelines and formalize the inclusion of media workers, specifically those from news outlets, in the A4 group in their meeting scheduled on Thursday, April 15.
“Ang media ay napakaimportanteng sektor at maituturing ding essential workers dahil sa tungkulin na kanilang ginagampanan. Sila ang nagdadala ng balita at kasangga natin sila sa pagbibigay ng tamang impormasyon sa publiko,” Go explained.
“Sa araw-araw nilang coverage, palagi silang exposed sa banta ng COVID-19. Kaya dapat lang na maproteksyunan agad sila ng bakuna,” he added.
Testing czar Secretary Vince Dizon on Tuesday, April 13, already said that members of the media will be included in the A4 group of the government’s vaccine priority list which is comprised of frontline personnel in essential sectors.
Specifically, the National Economic and Development Authority said that the A4 classification includes workers who have “high levels of interaction with or exposure to the public” and economic sectors that are “needed to ensure security, consumers and worker safety.”
Even prior to the start of the vaccine rollout, Go already earlier appealed to the government to include members of the media in the COVID-19 priority list without prejudice to other sectors already identified as priorities, such as frontliners, senior citizens and other vulnerable sectors.
“Dapat po ang media ay bigyan din ng prayoridad ‘pag andyan na ang safe at epektibong vaccine para tuloy-tuloy din po ang inyong pagtatrabaho, pagko-cover at pagdadala ng balita sa ating mga kababayan,” he said earlier.
Recognizing their equally important contributions, the Senator also lauded essential workers whose roles allow society to weather the challenges brought by COVID-19. Go added that the media workers, particularly field reporters, are also like frontliners who risk their safety just to keep Filipinos informed on the country’s COVID-19 situation.
“Saludo po tayo sa kagitingan ng lahat ng frontliners. Bukod sa mga medical at uniformed personnel, kilalanin rin natin ang serbisyo at sakripisyo ng iba pang mga ordinaryong manggagawa, tulad ng media, na nakikipagbayanihan sa laban na ito,” Go said.
Meanwhile, Go encouraged the public to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible. He also urged everyone to educate themselves about the vaccines, particularly with regard to their safety and efficacy, and to rely on the verified information released by the proper authorities and health experts.
“Sabi ko nga, magtiwala kayo sa bakuna. Huwag kayong matakot sa bakuna. Matakot kayo sa COVID-19. Ang bakuna po ang solusyon para malampasan natin itong problemang ito … bakuna po ang tanging susi para ma-attain po natin ‘yung herd immunity sa community,” explained Go.
By providing the right information, Go said that this can empower communities to participate more in the bayanihan efforts. He then urged the media to continue providing timely, accurate and relevant information to the public to strengthen public confidence in the vaccines and further raise awareness on all the efforts being done to defeat COVID-19.
“Makiisa po tayong lahat. Bawat isa sa atin ay may mahalagang papel na ginagampanan sa laban na ito. Hindi po ito laban ng gobyerno lamang kundi laban ng buong sambayanang Pilipino. Hindi ito panahon para magsisihan. Panahon ito upang makipagtulungan,” Go ended.