PCOO looking for ways to aid ailing media practitioners

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar relayed during a press conference on August 12 that the agency is looking at how to financially help members of the fourth estate with their medical needs.
Andanar said “sinabi ko po sa mga staff ko, kay Assistant Secretary Banaag, tinanong ko po sila kung ano yung maaring gawing paraan ng PCOO na makapagbigay ng medical assistance sa lahat po ng mga journalist or mga former journalist sa buong bansa.”
He said that he wants to leave as a legacy when his term ends after five years, an institutionalized program that will support the medical needs of the media. This is aside from Administrative Order 1 (AO1) creating the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, to assure the safety and security of the messengers of information. 
“I am one of you and after five years, I will go back to the industry of where I am, where I was and where you are right now. And kung meron man siguro akong gustong maiwan na legacy bukod doon sa administrative order number 1 (AO 1) creating the Presidential Task Force on Media Security na talagang itinulak namin na mapirmahan ni Presidente, na sa current administration po at ng PCOO po to napirmahan, ang pangalawa po na gusto kong mabuo natin ay yung medical assistance para sa mga mediamen.”
He said he has talked with some businessmen to include Ramon Ang and Manuel Pangilinan, who have expressed willingness to set-up a fund for the mediamen, especially those in the provinces, so that they can be extended help for their health needs.
He solicited from the media more ideas so he could work things out.
Andanar talked about a media practitioner in Manila who called for help to settle the P20,000 hospital bill of her mother who is confined in a hospital, undergoing dialysis.
He related that he earlier had talks with the National Press Club (NPC) and media associations in Mindanao during his visits to the provinces. “Umiikot po ako sa buong Pilipinas bilang kalihim at hindi ko po matanggap at masakit po ang dibdib ko na nakikita ko yung mga may edad na, na mga broadcaster at alam mo na hindi maganda yung kanilang lagay, may sakit.”
Earlier, the Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club (BCBC), the umbrella organization of the Baguio media, initiated a signature campaign calling on the government to make dialysis sessions free of charge for newsmen.
Ramon Dacawi, a past president of the BCBC who started the initiative, said, “I hope that your offices will consider this and this is in memory of our two of our media practitioners- two of the best- Cid Chamag and the late Peppot Ilagan – who died because they had no money for dialysis.”
On the other hand, Assistant Secretary for Special Concerns Marie Rafael-Banaag related that Secretary Andanar has instructed them to meet with Philhealth, Department of Health, Kapisanan ng mga Broadkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) and the NPC to discuss ways to help the ailing media members from the provinces.
She said they are looking at the implementation of programs to help the media in the provinces, aside from the medical aid coming from the Philhealth.
Banaag assured that Secretary Andanar is willing to help. “This is what Secretary really wanted, ang problem lang is how. The BCBC and KBP here would know who their members are and we will start from there,” Banaag said. Liza T. Agoot, PNA / ABN

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