MANILA — Every state department should establish a safe house for media practitioners who are covering the latest developments on the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak in the country, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar said on Friday.
During the live broadcast of “Cabinet Report” radio program, Andanar said safe houses for media would give them protection from Covid-19.
“Every department should provide a safe house for reporters so that at least we know that, number one, they’re safe from Covid-19; and number two, they can continue covering the departments, say for example, the Department of Health or the Department of the Interior and Local Government,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared a public health emergency nationwide following the rise in the number of people infected with Covid-19.
As of Saturday, the country has 111 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
Duterte also placed the entire Metro Manila under “general” community quarantine to limit the people’s movement since most of Covid-19 patients are from the region.
Andanar acknowledged that media practitioners have a “crucial role” to raise public awareness of Covid-19.
“If we do not allow them to move around, if there is no movement protocol, then that would be a big problem for everybody,” he said.
Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, World Health Organization Representative to the Philippines, backed the proposal to create safe houses for media workers.
Abeyasinghe said the plan was a “new reality” of how to facilitate access to media covering the Covid-19 outbreak.
“I think that’s a very good suggestion because in this way, you minimize the opportunities for possibly being infected,” he said. “The social distancing that that is being advocated as part of the community quarantine. We need to ensure that’s followed if we really want to break this outbreak and stop the transmission of the virus.” (PNA)