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De Lima proposes hazard pay for journalists

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Senator Leila M. De Lima — AFP

SENATOR LEILA M. de Lima has filed a bill requiring media companies to provide insurance coverage and hazard pay to journalists and other workers, especially those assigned in conflict or disaster areas. Senate Bill No. 1860 mandates additional insurance benefits for journalists on top of those provided to regular employees. It also proposes disability benefits worth P350,000, death worth P300,000, and reimbursements of actual medical costs up to P200,000. The bill also proposes that state-run agencies Social Security System and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) create an insurance program for freelance journalists. On hazard pay for media workers deployed in battle-torn areas, Ms. De lima proposes an amount equivalent to at least 25% of their gross monthly salary and not subject to tax. “In light of the dangerous circumstances confronted by journalists, it is imperative they be provided adequate mandatory hazard pay and commensurate insurance,” the senator said in a statement Monday. — Camille A. Aguinaldo