THRILLMAKER: What it takes to deliver the news for the nation

Published March 20, 2021, 8:37 PM

by Joee Guilas

(PTV logo)

Since the pandemic started early last year, the media is one of those sectors called upon to serve in the frontlines, keeping the whole nation up to speed about the latest developments on the fight against the deadly virus. With their jobs naturally exposing them to the elements and, both unwittingly and unknowingly, even to people who are infected with the Coronavirus, they themselves fall prey to its effects, sometimes to the extent of costing them their own lives.

Such tale of “sacrifice in pursuit of a commitment to serve” becomes even more real to those who work in the government station, People’s Television Network (PTV).

“Being the single source of information on government programs and initiatives, PTV cannot afford to be off-air especially during this pandemic,” says PTV General Manager Kat de Castro. “And admittedly, we’ve already had a number of our employees who have been infected by Covid-19,” she reveals.

To allow it to continuously deliver on its commitment of providing news and information to the Filipino people, PTV has undertaken quick and concrete steps to mitigate the further spread of the virus among its ranks.

Early on, after the declaration by the President of a national emergency, the network constituted a Crisis Committee to address any arising Covid-related issues and concerns. Among the committee’s first recommendations that immediately got implemented was the headcount reduction of those who have to work on-site. The number of people physically reporting to the station’s offices was limited to highly essentials, mostly, those involved in day-to-day Operations. All office-based personnel were made to work from home.

To create a safe bubble for those who have been allowed to work on-site, especially at the height of the ECQ, stay-in arrangements were facilitated, with special provisions of meals and vitamins also given on a regular basis. However, PTV management has decided to discontinue the practice (except for QRTs) to heighten safety protocols and minimize infection risks in the network.

All employees are likewise required to report any onset of symptom to PTV’s Medical Team.

“We’re very strict. Once an employee reports any kind of symptom, he/she is immediately isolated, given prescription and/or medicine and sent home,” de Castro declares.

Basic protocols were naturally observed and strictly enforced among employees, who have been required to wear face masks and face shields all the time. Reminders are posted all over the station to remind employees of their health safety duties, A Contact Tracing Committee (CTC) goes around the property to ensure compliance.

To ensure that everything is kept clean and dandy, the entire building and even the work stations are regularly disinfected to ensure that bacteria, germs and viruses do not thrive. Close coordination between PTV and its local government partners, the QCESU and Barangay Vasra (the barangay where it operates) is done to discuss areas of cooperation and to seek guidance and assistance in the fight against COVID-19. PTV regularly submits to the QCESU a daily monitoring report of Covid-related developments and even cases.

“PTV considers its people as its greatest resource. They are our valuable partners in our government information and program dissemination. We will not sacrifice health and safety over content,” de Castro commits.