House Panel Passed Bill Promoting Rights for Media Workers in the Philippines
The House Committee on Labor and Employment passed a bill promoting and developing media workers’ social and economic well-being, together with their living and working conditions.
House Bill 454, in consolidation with House Bills 304, 1924, 2487, and 2801, also known as the Media Workers Welfare Act, aims to ensure that media workers must not receive a compensation less than the applicable minimum wage corresponding region, and shall be entitled to overtime pay and night differentials.
Moreover, hazard pay and basic safety gear must also be given to them when reporting in dangerous areas.
Media workers must also be covered by Social Security System, Pag-IBIG, and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
Aside from this, employers must also grant media workers with additional benefits such as death benefit of ₱200,000, disability benefit of up to ₱200,000, and medical insurance of up to ₱100,000.
This bill also provides that media workers must be deemed regular employees after six months probation regardless of the nature of employment.
Anti-Crime and Terrorism Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Partylist Representative Jeffrey Soriano, one of the principal authors of the proposed measure stated that rights and welfare of media workers shall be promoted as the country’s right to information.
Soriano noted, “However, while we have the privilege to be served with quality news at the expense of the said right, media workers are currently confronted with different risks and threats, sometimes even life and death situations.”
However, regardless of invaluable sacrifices, Soriano regret that there is no enabling legislation that would codify the promotion of rights and welfare of media workers.
Soriano mentioned, “So, this bill seeks to ensure that media workers are granted humane conditions of work, living wage and comprehensive benefits packages at par with the benefits enjoyed by the labor force in both the government and private sector.”