Press Release
November 3, 2008

Gordon mulls insurance benefits for mediamen

Alarmed of the risks Filipino journalists face today, Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon is mulling over the granting of medical and health insurance benefits to mediamen, especially those who cover disaster- and conflict-stricken areas.

Gordon said he is readying an insurance package that would entitle media practitioners assigned to cover typhoons, disasters and conflicts to accidental death, disablement, dismemberment and other benefits up to P300,000.

"Our journalists face greater risks today than before. Many of them risk their own lives and safety as they fulfill their responsibility of providing us with timely and relevant information during times of national emergency and crisis," he said.

"As we acknowledge the crucial role media play during such situations, we also recognize the myriad dangers they have to face. Unfortunately, most of them brave these occupational hazards without protection and assistance," he added.

Gordon is working on an insurance package between the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) which he heads and some national media organizations, of which the bona fide members of the National Press Club (NPC) stand to benefit first.

Under the insurance coverage, NPC members will be given Premier Gold Red Cross memberships that would cover medical and health benefits amounting to P300,000 provided by Prudential Guarantee and Assurance Inc.

"Under the agreement, there will be no out-of-the-pocket expenses for media practitioners and their legal dependents availing themselves of the insurance benefits," Gordon pointed out.

Other insurance benefits covered include daily hospital allowance with maximum of 60 days only, burial benefits, and accidental medical reimbursement.

Gordon also said that he himself was impressed by the dedication and commitment of some media practitioners who went out of their way to cover the PNRC in its many crucial operations.

"Our friends in the media have been with us in many of our activities in Red Cross, especially in our relief and rescue operations during typhoons, landslides and even conflicts in Mindanao. They are our invaluable partners," he said.

In his first term in the Senate, Gordon always took the floor to fight against violations of the rights of Filipino journalists and condemn the continued killings of media practitioners in the country, especially in the provinces.

As chairman of the Senate constitutional amendments, revisions of laws and codes, he is set to report out a consolidated measure decriminalizing libel as soon as Congress resumes its regular session on Nov. 10.

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