The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) praised the swift approval of the Media Workers’ Welfare bill by the Lower House Sub-committee on Labor Standards.

House Bill No. 2476, principally authored by ACT-CIS Partylist Representative Niña Taduran, seeks to grant journalists and media workers hazard pay, living wage, employment security plus additional insurance and hospitalization benefits.

“Anything is possible when we get our act together.  Finally, a law that will protect the economic rights of our media workers will soon be a reality, a testament to the government’s relentless effort to protect our media workers,” Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, Executive Director of PTFoMS, said.  

Under the bill, media workers who are assigned to cover dangerous events will now be given an additional ₱500 per day as hazard pay similar to what President Rodrigo Duterte granted to government workers under Administrative Order No. 26.  The bill will also require media outfits to provide media workers with protective and safety equipment when necessary.  

The Media Workers’ Welfare Act and the Freedom of Information Act are priority bills of the Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO) headed by Secretary Martin Andanar, also co-chair of the PTFoMS.  

“Our government wants our media workers to perform their duties truthfully and responsibly in a safe and protected working environment.” 

“Our government wants our media workers to perform their duties truthfully and responsibly in a safe and protected working environment.  Both laws, if approved, will empower the Fourth Estate by advancing the economic rights of our media workers, as well as their right to seek information from all government agencies in the pursuit of their profession,” Andanar said.  

According to the communications chief, House Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano and Majority Leader Martin Romualdez already gave their full backing for the passage of the much-needed bill.

Taduran, who is currently the House Asst. Majority Leader, firmly believes that the Media Workers Welfare Act will be a game changer.

It is high time that we give our media workers the protection they deserve.”

“It’s a fact that there are still media workers who are underpaid and unprotected.  It’s a cruel and thankless job but media workers keep on doing their best because of the desire to inform the public. It is high time that we give our media workers the protection they deserve,” the legislator said.  

Andanar, Sy Egco and Taduran were all former working journalists.

The officials thanked House Committee on Labor and Employment Chairman Eric Pineda and Subcommittee Chairman Democrito Mendoza for their immediate action on the bill.  

They also expressed gratitude to various stakeholders and resource persons who attended the virtual subcommittee hearing recently to give their support for the passage of the bill.  

The bill will be submitted to the said House Committee for further refinement and improvement, then it will be sent to the plenary for the third and final reading.    

Prior to the subcommittee hearing, Andanar, Taduran, Sy Egco together with PCOO Asst. Sec. Kris Ablan met with Speaker Cayetano, Majority Leader Romualdez, House Deputy Secretary General Brian Yamsuan and Presidential Legislative Liaison Office Undersecretary Jacinto Paras in the House of Representatives on August 25, 2020 to endorse the two bills. This is in pursuit of the government’s advocacy to strengthen press freedom through freedom of information and better protection for media workers.

This bill is a major component of the “Twin-Tack” approach of PTFoMS to end impunity for crimes against journalists by ensuring the delivery of justice for victims of media violence and promoting the professional and economic welfare of media workers.  

Sy Egco said that the PCOO and PTFoMS will be unrelenting in its push for the enactment of MWWA in collaboration with ACT-CIS Partylist.


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