Andanar: PCOO creating 'Duterte Media Fund' to help journalists

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 18) — The Palace said on Saturday the Duterte administration will allocate funds to support workers of the media industry.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar revealed in a radio briefing that his office is coordinating with the private sector to create the "Duterte Media Fund."

"So, at least mayroon tayong one thousand media men who can go to hospitals at libre magpagamot. So ito ay isang tulong natin, tulong ng PCOO, tulong ng ating Pangulo," Andanar said.

[Translation: At least we could have one thousand media men who can go to hospitals and be checked for free. This is the help given by PCOO and the President.]

He added that his office is also planning on a housing project for media agencies and journalists.

Andanar said they are looking into a five-hectare lot owned by the Philippine Information Agency for the so-called "media village."

President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration has had a rocky relationship with the media since assuming office.

He has slammed media outfits and personnel on multiple occasions due to alleged bias in their coverage.

Andanar, however, emphasized that the media is one of Duterte's priorities, bringing up the President's first ever Administrative Order -- the formation of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security in October 2016.

"Kailangan talaga na we must protect one of the largest estates of the country --- the fourth estate. Because it is the fourth estate that will disseminate the good news of our government, of our society. And also will check and balance 'yung kung ano ang mga dapat makita na dapat ma-remind ang ating mga public officials," Andanar said.

[Translation: We really need to protect one of the largest estates of the country - the fourth estate. Because it is the fourth estate that will disseminate the good news of our government, of our society. And also will check and balance what the public officials need to be reminded of.]

Andanar revealed that the task force, headed by veteran journalist and PCOO Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, opened a new office dedicated to fasttrack cases of the Maguindanao massacre victims.

The massacre, which happened on November 2009, saw the death of 58 people including 32 media workers. It is considered by global media groups as one of the worst election-related violence recorded in recent history, and the single deadliest attack on journalists ever recorded.