Villanueva pushes for inclusion of media workers in gov’t priority list of essential workers to be vaccinated; ‘They are our information frontliners’
Senator Joel Villanueva has sought the inclusion of workers in the media sector to be included in the government’s list of priority recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine, citing their indispensable work of providing “timely and truthful information” in the midst of the pandemic.
Villanueva, chair of the Senate labor committee, was commenting on the government’s priority list of essential workers who comprise the A4 cluster which was made public on Monday.
“Press freedom and timely access to truthful information are a must in times of pandemic. Media should be included in the A4 list,” Villanueva said. “Ang media workers po natin ay ang ating information frontliners. Bukod sa peligroso ang kanilang trabaho, napakahalaga po ng kanilang ambag na kaalaman at impormasyon laban sa pandemya.”
Villanueva cited the dangers faced by media workers who need to move around to gather news and essential information for the public’s consumption. He pointed out that aside from field reporters, newsrooms are staffed by various individuals such as photographers and videographers, editors, production crew, among others, to provide content to various platforms such as television, radio, print, and online.
“Ang media workers po natin ay ang ating information frontliners. Bukod sa peligroso ang kanilang trabaho, napakahalaga po ng kanilang ambag na kaalaman at impormasyon laban sa pandemya.”
Given their role in society as “information frontliners,” Villanueva urged authorities to include media workers in their A4 priority list, which clusters workers categorized as essential.
Villanueva has been in the forefront of pushing for the inclusion of essential workers in the vaccine priority list. In January, he pressed on the leadership of the IATF at the Senate Committee of the Whole hearing to prioritize essential workers into the government’s vaccination program.
Aside from media workers, Villanueva said the priority list must include vendors in public and private markets, staff in groceries and places where essential goods are sold, drivers of public utility vehicles, delivery riders, security guards, sanitation personnel like garbage collectors, workers in electricity, water, and telecommunication services, and construction workers in public and private projects among others.
“While most of our suggestions have been adopted, we continue to press our authorities to take a second glance at their initial list. Umaasa po tayo na pakikinggan ng ating mga kasamahan sa gobyerno, at tiwala tayong mauunawaan nila ang ating isinusulong,” Villanueva said.