Gov’t ‘a step closer’ to giving add’l benefits to media: Andanar

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

January 19, 2021, 10:02 am

MANILA – The Duterte government is now a step closer to promoting the rights of and providing additional benefits to media workers, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar said on Tuesday.

Andanar issued the statement as he welcomed the approval of the proposed Media Workers’ Welfare Act on third and final reading at the House of Representatives.

“We welcome the passage of the Media Workers Welfare Bill on its third and final reading at the House of Representatives, as this brings us a step closer to realizing a law that provides protection and additional benefits for members of the media,” he said in a statement.

Around 218 congressmen voted Monday in favor of the passage of House Bill 8140 or the proposed Media Workers’ Welfare Act.

HB 8140, authored by ACT- CIS Representative Niña Taduran, aims to provide enhanced protection, security, and benefits for media workers.

Andanar lauded Taduran and the lawmakers who voted in favor of the Media Workers Welfare bill.

“The PCOO sees the HOR's passage of this bill as a positive development, our office being among those who have been pushing for its swift passage. Through this bill, media workers will be covered by enhanced protection, security, and benefits. It will also guarantee media workers security of tenure after the probationary work period of six months of continuous service,” he said.

Andanar said like the Freedom of Information and the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, the proposed measure would serve as another mechanism that will help “further achieve President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s goal of protecting and promoting the welfare of media workers.”

“Our continued endeavor to help push for the bill's passage is another testament to the Duterte administration’s desire to protect and uphold the rights, welfare, and safety of media workers,” Andanar said.

The proposed Media Workers’ Welfare Act seeks to ensure that media workers shall, at a minimum, be paid the wages, allowances, and benefits provided by law to workers.

Under the bill, media workers shall be covered by the Social Security System, the Home Development Mutual Fund or the Pag-IBIG Fund, and the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. upon employment.

Employers shall also provide additional insurance coverage to media workers, including the death benefit of PHP200,000, disability benefit of PHP200,000, and medical insurance benefit of PHP100,000.

The bill likewise guarantees security of tenure to media workers after the probationary work period of six months of continuous work.

The measure also assigns the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) as the agency in charge of monitoring compliance with the provisions of the proposed law.

Under HB 8140, the DOLE is also mandated to create a News Media Tripartite Council that will hear the concerns of media workers and companies, settle their conflicts, and agree on mutually beneficial policies for the media industry. (PNA)