House OKs bill on media workersâ welfare sans âcontentiousâ higher pay
File photo taken during media coverage at Makati City hall.
Philstar.com, File photo

House OKs bill on media workers’ welfare sans ‘contentious’ higher pay

(Philstar.com) - January 19, 2021 - 3:03pm

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives approved Monday a bill that seeks to guarantee media workers’ security of tenure and benefits, but without the higher pay the initial measure proposed.

The final bill approved unanimously by the House did not contain the original proposal of ACT-CIS party-list Reps. Rowena Niña Taduran, Jocelyn Tulfo and Eric Yap which sought to set minimum wages for media workers in Metro Manila ranging from P20,000 to P60,000 depending on their work and experience.

Instead, the bill that cleared the House provides that media workers will receive at least the prevailing minimum wage in their region, overtime pay and night differential.

Taduran told Philstar.com on Tuesday that their proposal for higher wages was “contentious,” which was why it was dropped.

“As much as we want to include it, the [provision] would keep the bill from getting passed,” she said in an online exchange.

Security of tenure, added benefits

Apart from guaranteeing at least the minimum wage for media workers, the bill also provides that media workers are regularized after six months of employment, which will be computed cumulatively if a media worker is repeatedly engaged for shorter periods. 

The measure also seeks to cover media workers by the Social Security System, the Home Development Mutual Fund and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation upon employment.

It also seeks to provide media workers with at least P500 per day hazard pay when they physically report for work in dangerous areas.

It also wants employers of media workers to provide them with additional insurance coverage. The measure sets a P200,000 death benefit, up to P200,000 disability benefit, and P100,000 medical insurance benefit.

The bill also directs the labor department to initiate the creation of a news media tripartite council, which will provide a platform where media workers and employers can discuss policies that will promote the interests of the media industry, and serve as an avenue to settle conflicts. — Xave Gregorio

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