THE National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC) welcomed the announcement on Wednesday by Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) secretary, Martin Andanar, on the creation of the ‘Duterte Medical Fund for the Media’ to help members of the press with their medical needs.
Andanar made the announcement at the NPC’s Bulwagang Plaridel on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), which the NPC agreed to host for being one of the task force’s media partners in solving cases of violence against the media.
Andanar said that he “just recently” signed the agreement with the MVP Group of Companies headed by businessman, Manny V. Pangilinan, for the establishment of the fund that he called, the ‘Duterte Media Medical Fund.’
The MVP Group owns some of the country’s best medical facilities and hospitals.
The issue of medical assistance for members of the press, Andanar said, is among the many issues plaguing the Fourth Estate that he had previously discussed with NPC Pres. Paul Gutierrez, adding the NPC would be the “lead (media) organization” to assist his office in the implementation of the project.
“Napag-usapan na namin ito dati pa…and I am pleased to announce that just recently, I signed the MOA (memorandum of agreement) with the MVP Group of Mr. Manny Pangilinan,” Andanar said, to wild applause from the audience consisting mostly of active journalists.
“While the NPC would continue to maintain its status as the bastion of press freedom in the country and would not hesitate to give its own dose of criticisms when needed, we should also give credit where credit is due.
“To be fair to the Duterte administration, it is only now that the voice of the mainstream media, insofar as their interests and welfare are concerned, is actually being given due attention -- and promptly acted upon -- by the executive branch thru the PCOO,” Gutierrez added.
The NPC had earlier commended the Duterte administration for issuing Executive Order (EO) No. 2, on freedom of information (FOI) covering the entire executive branch and, Administrative Order (AO) No. 1, creating the PFToMS.
The fight for FOI and the government genuinely addressing violence against the media have always been at the centerpiece of the NPC’s campaign under previous administrations.
The NPC also lauded the success of the task force’s anniversary with Department of Justice (DOJ) secretary, Vitaliano Aguirre, delivering the keynote speech on behalf of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.