January 29, 2023

Bicol Express News

Your Voice ● Your News ● One Nation

Media industry workers enhance protection, security and benefits bill passed

Philippines House of Representatives. Photo via UNTV Web

Quezon City – The House of Representatives passed a measure that provided enhanced protection, security and benefits to media industry workers with a vote of 252 with no abstentions, House Bill No. 454 was approved on the third reading consolidating five other House Bills.

After the passage the leader of the House in a statement “regards the Fourth Estate as an essential partner in nation building and in protecting our democracy”. The approval of the measure highlights the importance that they in the House give to promoting the welfare of media personnel and ensuring that the press remains free”.

If enacted into law HB 454 all media workers and media entities in the private sector will be covered that provides minimum compensation for media workers not less than the applicable minimum wage set by the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board entitling the media workers overtime and night shift pay as provided in the Labor Code.

Broadening the scope, media workers will be covered by the Social Security System, Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG Fund and PhilHealth but share with their employer the monthly premiums.

Other benefits on hand when House Bill 454 became a law includes hazard pay if assigned in dangerous places, bulletproof vests and protective equipment by their employer with a package of 200 thousand for death and disability benefits and medical insurance up to 100 thousand.

After six months from the date of their employment they are considered a regular employee and their termination shall be on a just cause observing due process.

Under the Bill the Secretary of Labor a News Media Tripartite Council serves as a link to all stakeholders where media and their employers can mutually agree on beneficial policies and programs and settle disputes.

It will be recalled that members of the media industry were subjected not only once but on numerous instances to harassment by state authorities even muffling their voices such was the case of giant ABS-CBN losing its franchise, the continued assault on Rappler by the members of the lower house who are still sitting in the 18th congress during the time of President Duterte. The same was experienced during the dark days of Philippine democracy when martial law was imposed by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. totally controlling the industry by his cronies.