The International Press Center (IPC) is working overtime to process all requests for special passes which exempt media workers from the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, its head said on Thursday.
News and Information Bureau–International Press Center (NIB-IPC) Director Virginia Arcilla-Agtay made this assurance as the March 21 deadline for the application of special passes is nearing.
Media personnel including reporters, broadcasters, cameramen, photographers, and their crew drivers covering the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic are exempted from the quarantine’s guidelines.
“To ensure the unhampered operations of media outlets, those providing media support who are part of the skeletal workforce will also be given Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Special Media Pass,” she said in a statement.
As of Thursday noon, she said the IPC office is flooded with almost 4,000 applications for media accreditation.
She said in the meantime, only media entities covering the National Capital Region will be processed.
Provincial media members, however, may later be issued exemptions if the situation in their localities warrant it.
She allayed fears that applications for special passes could be denied but reminded non-exempted individuals that their movements will remain restricted as a stringent measure to stop the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19).
IPC will defer to the recommending media outfits/agencies to take prudence in the list of personnel submitted to the office, she said.
“As of this writing, the IPC is now printing ID Numbers 280 to 1,883. It will not cease until all IDs have been released to all requesting media outfits in time for the March 21, noon deadline,” she said.
Arcilla-Agtay added that the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO)recognizes the importance of media’s constructive role as government partners in increasing public awareness and gathering views and information.
“The PCOO has always believed in the essential role of the media in everyone’s life especially during this time of a volatile health crisis,” she added.
Meanwhile, despite calls to rescind media accreditation, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles earlier said the requirement to seek special passes as proof of exemption still stands.
Earlier, the University of the Philippines’ Department of Journalism, the Philippine Press Institute (PPI), and the Photojournalists’ Center of the Philippines (PCP) said acquiring a special pass was “unnecessary” since it gives the impression that government wants to control media and compromise independent coverage.
IPC is a division of NIB, an attached agency of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).
Source: Philippines News Agency