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Bill on standard, higher wages for media workers gets House committee approval

MARIA RESSA, Executive Editor and CEO of Philippine news website Rappler, speaks to the media beside former Rappler reporter Reynaldo Santos Jr. (L) and lawyer Ted Te (R), after being found guilty of cyber-libel, in Manila City Hall, June 15. — REUTERS

A COMMITTEE report on the proposal seeking to give a minimum monthly compensation and additional insurance benefits for media industry workers was approved Friday by the House of Representatives committee on labor and employment.

House Bill No. 2476 or the Media Workers’ Welfare Act guarantees security of tenure for media workers and mandates a P40,000 monthly salary for field reporters who have worked for at least three years. Their monthly minimum wage would gradually increase up to ?60,000, the bill stated.

Columnists and writers shall be paid at least ?25,000 to ?45,000, depending on their experience.

Various media workers, meanwhile, shall be paid at least ?20,000 to ?60,000, depending on experience.

Under the bill, all media workers who are assigned to cover dangerous and hazardous events or situations shall be given an additional ?500 daily pay.

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“They will be provided with bullet proof vests and helmets and medical grade personal protective equipment during hazardous coverages,” ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Nina O. Taduran said in a statement Friday.

The bill also requires private sector employers to give a P200,000 death benefit for media workers who died in the line of duty; up to P200,000 disability benefits for a worker who was injured in the line of duty; and reimbursement of up to P100,000 medical expenses incurred in the line of duty.

The proposed law also creates the Commission on Press Freedom and Media Security under the Presidential Communications Operations Office, which would be responsible for setting up a database of all media workers, conduct training and seminars, and crafting and lobbying for media laws.

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III has filed a counterpart bill. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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