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Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva

Senator pushes synergized action to cut unemployment

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Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva wants the private sector and government agencies to put up a unified program that will generate some 1.7 million jobs annually to address the country’s unemployment woes, according to a report by Phil...

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Speaker Martin Romualdez

House approves media workers' welfare bill

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Speaker Martin Romualdez on Monday said the approval of the measure providing media workers with enhanced protection, security and benefits highlights the efforts of the House of Representatives to promote the welfare of media personnel and ensure that the press remains free, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

Romualdez made the statement after the lower chamber approved on third and final reading House Bill 454, or the proposed Media Workers’ Welfare Act, with 252 affirmative votes, no negative vote, and zero abstention.

“We regard the Fourth Estate as an essential partner in nation building and in protecting our democracy,” Romualdez said.

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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.

HB 454 shall apply to all media workers and media entities in the private sector.

The bill provides that the minimum compensation for media workers shall not be less than the applicable minimum wage set by the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board.

Media workers shall be entitled to overtime and night shift pay.

Media personnel shall be covered by the Social Security System, Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG Fund and the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. upon employment. Monthly premiums shall be shared by the worker and the employer in accordance with existing rules.

It also requires death benefit of up to PHP200,000, disability benefit of up to PHP200,000, and medical insurance benefit of up to PHP100,000.

Media workers required to physically report for work in dangerous places such as embattled and disease-stricken areas shall receive a hazard pay of PHP500 a day.

They shall be deemed as regular employees after six months from the start of employment. An employer shall not terminate the services of an employee except for a just cause and with the observance of due process.

A News Media Tripartite Council shall be created to serve as a link among various stakeholders, and provide a platform where media workers and employers can agree on mutually beneficial policies and programs and can settle disputes.


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