MANILA – All Filipino media workers will enjoy full protection in the performance of their duties as the proposed bill on the Media Workers’ Welfare nears final approval at the House of Representatives’ Committee on Labor and Employment.

ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Niña Taduran, who sponsored House Bill 2476 with fellow party-list representatives, Eric Yap and Jocelyn Tulfo, believes the measure would empower the Fourth Estate.

“It’s a fact that there are still media workers who are underpaid and unprotected. Binabarya-barya lang ng mga pinagta-trabahuhan nila (Their payment is not enough). It’s a cruel and thankless job but media workers keep on doing their best because of the desire to inform and entertain,” said Taduran, a former broadcast media person, in a news release issued on Thursday.

Under the proposed bill, she said all media workers would be accorded wages mandated by law, enjoy the security of tenure, would be given hazard and overtime pay, insurance, and other benefits.

“The Media Workers Welfare Act will be a game-changer,” she added.

Taduran, assistant majority leader of the House of Representatives, said media workers who are assigned to cover dangerous and hazardous events or situations shall be given an additional PHP500 daily pay.

Death and disability benefits amounting to PHP200,000 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 coverage. Hindi na sila pasusugurin sa laban nang walang proteksyon (They will not be deployed without protection),” she said.

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 and will be sent to the plenary for the third and final reading.

Taduran thanked 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.

She also noted the immense support of Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar and Presidential Task Force on Media Security Undersecretary Joel Egco, both former mediamen, as well as Assistant 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 (Many media workers have long been enduring their situation. It is high time to enact a measure that would protect them),” Taduran said. (PR)