Bill seeks mandatory insurance, hazard pay for journalists 

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A BILL that will provide mandatory insurance benefits and hazard pay to journalists was filed in the House of Representatives, citing risks related to the job.   

“During important assignments, journalists face the most dangerous situations like typhoons, disasters, floods, riots, war and conflicts, to name a few, in order to deliver the news to the public,” Deputy Speaker Camille A. Villar, author of House Bill 6543, said in a statement on Monday.   

The Las Piñas City representative said the proposed law covers all permanent, temporary, contractual, and casual journalists employed by media entities in the Philippines, including freelance journalists. 

Mass media practitioners who suffer total or partial disability in line with their work shall be granted P350,000 in disability benefits.  

Death benefits are proposed at P300,000, while media personnel who are hospitalized or require medical assistance may reimburse medical costs up to P200,000.   

“The media entity shall have the option of selecting the insurance company and shall be responsible for paying the insurance premiums for their journalists and employees,” the bill states.   

Hazard pay, meanwhile, would be equivalent to at least 25% of the journalist’s gross monthly basic salary, and would not be subject to tax.   

Employers and insurance firms that fail to comply with the provisions could face fines of P300,000 to P500,000 or be imprisoned from one to six years, or both, based on the court’s discretion. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz