Undersecretary Joel Egco

MANILA – The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) on Tuesday stressed the need to give media workers equal protection, security, and benefits, especially now that the country is battling with the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

PCOO Undersecretary Joel Egco renewed his call for Congress to pass the proposed Media Workers’ Welfare Act to help address the vulnerabilities of media workers.

Egco said despite the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, media workers continue to fulfill their mandate to raise public awareness by delivering timely and accurate news about the threat posed by the infectious disease.

“Media organizations and other media outfits also, they continue to do their job and I salute them although nakita natin ang vulnerability ng ating mga kapatid sa hanapbuhay (although we see their vulnerability),” he said during the Laging Handa public briefing aired on state-owned PTV-4.

Workers from the media industry keep the public updated about Covid-19 outbreak, despite the risk of acquiring the highly-contagious disease.

Egco also acknowledged the media sector’s contribution to help the government fight fake news about Covid-19.

“On the part of the government, it’s public knowledge that we have dismissed misinformation. At ang ating mga mainstream at mga legitimate na media outlet natin (And with the help of mainstream and legitimate media outlets), we have more than enough na sources ng tamang information (for right information),” he said.

Egco emphasized the need for the passage of the proposed Media Workers’ Welfare Act, saying it is high time to look after the welfare and protection of media workers.

“It (Their dedication to work) showcased the importance of having a law or a measure that will ensure their welfare in the future. ‘Yun tinutulak po natin na (We are pushing for the passage of the proposed) Media Workers’ Welfare Act. Ito na po ‘yun. Nakita po natin sa panahon ngayon kung gaano kahalaga ang pagkakaroon ng ganitong klase ng batas (We need this kind of law in this trying time),” he said.

The proposed Media Workers’ Welfare Act seeks to provide media equal protection, security, and benefits.

Under House Bill 2746 or the proposed Media Workers’ Welfare Act filed in July 2019, media workers will be granted mandatory additional insurance benefits by the Social Security System and Government Service Insurance System, including death and disability benefits, and reimbursement of medical expenses. (PNA)