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Media Workers Act sets to protect journalists, media practitioners

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In photo, Journalists during a forum about Eroding Institutions and the 2019 Elections at Ateneo De Manila
Photo file/THEPHILBIZNEWS

By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios

We often hear the cliché, “Don’t shoot the messenger”, and for many media practitioners who have been performing their duties to provide accurate information based on the pieces of evidence they gathered and delivered in the news and later on get the blame, this is very apt.

The 2009 Maguindanao massacre dubbed as the single deadliest event for journalists in the history of the country and the world wherein 32 journalists were killed.

Now, all Filipino media workers will enjoy full protection in the performance of their duties as the bill on the Media Workers’ Welfare nears final approval at the House Committee on Labor and Employment.

ACT-CIS Partylist Representative Niña Taduran, who sponsors House Bill No. 2476 with fellow Partylist Representatives Eric Yap and Jocelyn Tulfo, believes that this will empower the Fourth Estate.

ACT-CIS Partylist Representative Niña Taduran (Photo file/THEPHILBIZNEWS)

“It’s a fact that there are still media workers who are underpaid and unprotected. Journalists are not a lucrative job and financially rewarding job. Needless to say, it’s a cruel and thankless job but media workers keep on doing their best because of the desire to inform and entertain,” says Taduran, a former broadcast journalist.

“The Media Workers Welfare Act will be a game-changer. All media workers will be accorded wages mandated by law, enjoy the security of tenure, will be given hazard and overtime pay, insurance and other benefits,” Taduran added.

The House Asst. Majority Leader says that under the bill, media workers who are assigned to cover dangerous and hazardous events or situations shall be given an additional ₱500 daily pay. Death and disability benefits amounting to ₱200, 000 shall also be awarded to the affected media worker.

“They should also be provided with bulletproof vests and helmets and medical-grade personal protective equipment during hazardous coverages. Hindi na sila pasusugurin sa laban nang walang proteksyon,” says the solon.

A Media Tripartite Council shall also be formed

After passing the second reading at the House Sub-committee level, the bill will be submitted to the House Committee on Labor and Employment for final approval, then it will be sent to the plenary for the third and final reading.

Taduran expresses her gratitude to House Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano, Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, House Committee on Labor and Employment Chairman Eric Pineda and Subcommittee Chairman Democrito Mendoza for their immediate action on the bill for the protection of media workers.

The solon also noted the immense support of PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar and Presidential Task Force on Media Security Undersecretary Joel Egco, both former media men, as well as Asst. Secretary Kris Ablan and Undersecretary Jing Paras.

“Matagal nang nagtitiis ang maraming manggagawa sa media kaya panahon na upang maisabatas ang magbibigay ng proteksyon sa kanila,” Taduran concluded.

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