We have come to the point where staying alive is a daily struggle.
We are saddened and enraged that the new spike in COVID-19 cases is even more vicious.
It pains us to see how the Duterte administration resorts to the same failed COVID-19 response, ignoring calls for scientific approach in battling the spread of the pandemic. More than a year since the lockdown, the Duterte administration has been adamant in implementing mobility restrictions without raising the bar of the health care system nor implementing free mass testing, effective contact tracing and isolation, among others.
No thanks to the inefficient government response to the pandemic, we receive reports of two cameramen dying due to COVID-19 and at least 58 fellow journalists and media workers testing positive for coronavirus. Although media workers are considered essential workers during the quarantine, the lack of support and assistance for them suggests they are not seen as that important after all.
While we hold the administration accountable for the rate of infection, we would like to remind media companies of their obligation to protect their employees, including correspondents and contributors.
Media companies should provide free swab testing, hazard pay especially for those covering on the ground and health insurance. Those infected should be given emergency cash assistance, access to quality health care, and psychosocial support. Those who are willing to be inoculated must also be given access to safe and effective vaccine.
Our friends, colleagues and families are not just “maliit na bagay.”
As we call for support for our colleagues struck by the virus, we stand with the Filipino people in demanding a comprehensive and scientific COVID-19 response.