House panel OKs better pay, benefits for media workers
File photo taken during media coverage at Makati City hall.
Philstar.com, File photo

House panel OKs better pay, benefits for media workers

Xave Gregorio (Philstar.com) - December 4, 2020 - 3:46pm

MANILA, Philippines — The House labor committee approved Friday a measure seeking to mandate higher pay and better benefits for media workers.

The panel approved House Bill No. 2476 authored by Rep. Niña Taduran (ACT-CIS party-list) which seeks to grant field reporters working in Metro Manila with at least three years of experience a minimum salary of P40,000 a month.

Journalists entering the workforce straight from college are only paid around P22,000 a month, according to a 2018 survey by job-hunting website JobStreet. Salaries vary across the industry, with many being paid lower than that.

The proposed minimum wage for reporters incrementally increases depending on the number of years they have served. A reporter who has been working for at least 10 years would be paid at least P60,000 a month under the proposal.

Columnists or writers, meanwhile, would be paid from at least P25,000 to P45,000 a month, depending on their experience.

A minimum wage of P20,000 to P60,000 a month will be set for various media workers who have been in the industry for three to 10 years.

For media workers outside of Metro Manila, the bill proposes that the Commission on Press Freedom and Media Security, which will replace the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, would determine their minimum wage.

The bill provides that these rates will be adjusted every three years.

Media workers covering dangerous and hazardous events will also be given additional pay of P500 a day.

Insurance and other benefits

On top of higher pay, the measure also seeks to provide media workers insurance coverage in case of death, disability and medical treatment in the line of duty. The bill wants a P200,000 death benefit, a P200,000 disability benefit, and a reimbursement of up to P100,000 for medical treatments.

As an incentive for media networks, the bill wants to provide them an additional deduction from their gross income equivalent to 25% of the total amount paid as benefits to media workers.

“Hopefully the bill … would be immediately sent to plenary so that it can be approved by President Rodrigo Duterte next year,” said Taduran, a former broadcaster before becoming a lawmaker.

Duterte has repeatedly attacked media entities, including the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Rappler and ABS-CBN, over coverage critical of government policies. 

Rappler’s license to operate has been revoked by the Securities and Exchange Commission, while a panel of the House of Representatives has denied ABS-CBN a fresh franchise.

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