Protection for media workers sought

October 26, 2019

THREE party-list lawmakers have urged the House committee on labor and employment to expedite the passage of the Media Workers’ Welfare Bill, which seeks to provide quality compensation and security of tenure for media workers.

Anti-Crime and Terrorism Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Rep. Rowena Nina Taduran, Eric Go Yap, and Jocelyn Pua Tulfo underscored anew the importance of passing their House Bill (HB) No. 2476, or the Media Workers’ Welfare Bill to protect the rights of media practitioners.

“Media workers, despite being part of the labor force, are, more often than not, left to fend for themselves especially when making danger-filled reportages,” said Taduran, a former broadcaster, after their bill was referred to the panel chaired by 1-Pacman party-list Rep. Enrico Pineda.

Taduran, Yap and Tulfo vowed to fight for equal protection and standardized remuneration under the “Media Workers Welfare Act” measure.

They stressed the need to address several complaints and grievances of media workers, including the absence of better benefits compared to other employees.

“Because of their dedication to their chosen field, we are always informed of every occurrence around us, near or far, local or foreign, night or day, be it in a peaceful area or a war-torn location. Thus, the least we can do to show that we recognize the invaluable contribution of media workers to society is to give them their economic due and added protection under the law,” Taduran, Yap and Tulfo pointed out.

The measure seeks to provide media workers with mandatory additional insurance benefits by the Social Security System (SSS) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), including death benefit (P200,000), disability benefits (P200,000), and reimbursement of medical expenses (P100,000).

For those who have at least three to 10 years of experience in the media, the bill seeks to provide a monthly salary of P40,000 to P60,000 for a reporter, P30,000 to P50,000 for a photographer, P25,000 to P40,000 for a cameraman, among others.

According to the proposal, any violator will face P300,000 to P500,000 fine or imprisonment of not less than two years but not more than six years or both depending on the discretion of the court.

The measure seeks to create the Commission on Press Freedom and Media Security (CPFMS) to ensure protection on the rights of the media.

The initial budget of the CPFMS shall be determined in coordination with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and submitted to the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and the Office of the President (OP) for approval.

The CPFMS will be headed by the PCOO and composed of journalism organizations duly recognized by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) represented by their respective presidents.

These include the National Press Club (NPC); Philippine Press Institute (PPI); Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP); Press Photographers of the Philippines (PPP); Manila Overseas Press Club (MOPC); National Union Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP); Publishers Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PAPI); Federation of Provincial Press Clubs (FPPC); Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR); and the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communications (AIJC).