The measure providing media workers with enhanced protection, security, and benefits is inching its way into becoming law following its second reading approval at the House of Representatives.

During Wednesday’s plenary session, the chamber passed through voice vote House Bill 454, or the proposed Media Workers’ Welfare Act.

ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Jeffrey Soriano, author of the measure, said the bill is geared toward the creation of a safe, protected, and conducive atmosphere for productive, free, and fruitful media work.

“This bill seeks to ensure that our media workers be granted humane conditions of work, living wage, and comprehensive benefits package at par with the current benefits enjoyed by the labor force both in government and the private sector,” Soriano said.

He said the rights and welfare of media workers should be promoted as the country’s right to information flourishes with aid from media workers.

“However, while we have the privilege to be served with quality news at the expense of the said right, media workers are currently confronted with different risks and threats, sometimes even life and death situations,” he added.

The bill includes entitlements to overtime pay, night shift premiums, and a wage that should not be below the minimum salary in their respective region.

Media workers shall be covered by the Social Security System, the Home Development Mutual Fund or the PAG-IBIG Fund, and the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. upon employment.

It also requires death, disability, and medical insurance benefits for media workers.

A News Media Tripartite Council shall be created to serve as a platform for media workers and employers to discuss and agree on mutually beneficial policies, including the settlement of conflicts and the formulation of programs that support both sectors’ aspirations, and thereby promote the growth and development of the media industry. (PNA)

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