Filipino journalists deployed in “difficult, strife-torn, and embattled areas” might have “adequate mandatory hazard pay and commensurate insurance” once the Senate Bill 1860 is passed.
Filed by the chair of the senate committee on social justice, welfare and rural development Sen. Leila de Lima, the “Journalists’ Protection Act of 2018” would require media entities to give members of the press (a) a hazard pay equivalent to at least 25 percent of the gross monthly salary of the journalist, (b) an insurance of P350,000 for disability and up to P200,000 for hospitalization, and (c) a special insurance program for freelance journalists by Social Security System and the Government Service Insurance System.
The hazard pay shall not be subjected to tax and the death benefits amounting to 300,000 shall be given to all media practitioners and employees who will die in the line of duty.
Had this been thought of before November 23, 2009, the 34 journalists who have gone with former vice mayor Esmael Mangudadatu of Buluan1 would have been benefited. They were kidnapped and killed then, prompting the Committee to Protect Journalists2 to call what happened that day as “the single deadliest event for journalists in history.”
Or Arturo Acosta Borjal before he succumbed to lung cancer. He was just three years old when he had been struck with polio, a viral disease causing muscular paralysis and skeletal atrophy and deformity.
The son of Arsenio V. Borjal and Marta Acosta Borjal just persevered. He studied humanities and law degrees at the Ateneo de Manila University (he was the school paper’s editor-in-chief and president of the Debating Team and the Supreme Student Council before he finished Law), keeping in mind his reason for doing so: to fight for the dignity and rights of fellow Filipinos with disabilities.
AAB had principally authored Republic Act 72773 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons. He had dedicated his daily column in The Philippine Star to appeal for help for the sector and commend government and welfare organizations that assist it. He had also directed Tahanang Walang Hagdan (Home with No Stairs) and had hosted two public affairs programs of GMA7, “Issues and Answers” and “No Holds Barred.”
He had been the executive director of the National Council for the Welfare of Disabled Persons (NCWDP)4, too. And the 1990s had been such a decade for him. He became the president of the City College of Manila (CCM), appointed as Sectoral Representative for the Disabled in the Eighth Congress, founded Abilympics Philippines, chairman of Gulong sa Pagsulong project, and speaker/delegate to the 16th World Congress of Rehabilitation International in Tokyo, Japan.
The first Filipino journalist ever elected as president of the Manila Overseas Club and the National Press Club, AAJ received the City Government of Manila’s 1981 Outstanding Citizen of Manila, Ateneo de Manila University’s 1961 Distinguished Leadership Awardee, Rotary Club of Manila’s 1986 Newspaperman of the Year, and Catholic Mass Media Awards’ 1986 Best Opinion Columnist. He was the director of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) at the time of his death.
“The press is considered as the fourth estate, a significant pillar of our democracy. However, journalism and reporting the news remains to be a dangerous profession.” ~ Sen. Leila de Lima
Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Love KIMXI
Notes: Aside from the Senate Bill 1860, Sen. De Lima also principally authored the Senate Bill 1197 or the “Act Defining Extrajudicial Killing and Providing for its penalty.” She has conducted four hearings on this subject during her chairpersonship of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights, and delivered three privilege speeches on extrajudicial killings and fake news.
1The capital of Maguindanao since 2014, Buluan is a 4th class municipality subdivided into seven barangays.
2The Committee to Protect Journalists is a New York-based independent non-profit, non-governmental organization with correspondents around the world. It promotes press freedom and defends the rights of journalists, earning it the name “Journalism’s Red Cross”.
3The law, promulgated by former president Corazon Aquino in March 24, 1992, provided for the rehabilitation, self-development and self-reliance of PWDs by giving them equal access to education and employment and easier mobility in public establishments.
4It was renamed the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA).