House Deputy Speaker Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte Jr. has filed a measure seeking to provide enhanced protection, security, and benefits for media workers.
Villafuerte said media workers should be provided with a comprehensive benefits package at par with the current benefits enjoyed by those in the labor force both in the government and the private sector.
“Media workers risk their own lives being exposed to the perils and hazards outdoor just so we receive our needed information. It is unfortunate that the very same people behind it are usually the ones whose labor rights are ignore such as those pertaining to security of tenure, hazard pay, night shift differential pay, and overtime pay, among others,” the deputy speaker for finance said in his House Bill No. 7820 or the proposed Media Workers’ Welfare Act.
Villafuerte said he filed HB 7820 to ensure the creation of a safe and protected atmosphere conducive to productive, free, and fruitful media work, and ensure that the jobs of media workers in the current exercise of freedom of press and the exercise of news media shall be free from any form of harassment.
Covered by the bill are all media workers and media entities.
HB 7820 provides that to ensure that media workers are properly compensated, entry-level positions will receive the minimum monthly compensation determined by the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) and Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs), whichever applies.
Under the measure, a media worker shall be deemed a regular employee after six months of continuous employment, regardless of the nature of employment.
No worker shall be dismissed from one’s employment without just or authorized cause and without procedural due process, it provides.
Villafuerte’s bill grants daily hazard pay of P500 to media workers who are required to physically report for work in dangerous areas, such as strife-torn or embattled areas, distressed or isolated stations, disease-infested areas, or in areas declared under state of calamity or emergency.
HB 7820 grants overtime work and night shift differential pay to any media worker who may be required to render service beyond the normal eight hours a day, or between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. the following day.
The bill also provides the following mandatory additional insurance benefits for media workers:
– Death benefit of P200,000 for each media worker who shall perish in the line of duty.
– Disability benefits of up to P200,000 for each media worker who shall suffer total or partial disability
whether permanent or temporary, arising from any injury sustained in the line of duty.
– Reimbursement of actual medical expenses up to but not to exceed P100,000 for each media worker who shall be hospitalized or who shall require medical attendance for injuries sustained while in the line of duty.