Press Release
July 24, 2010

A National Media Welfare Fund,
Classify As Murder the Killing of Media - Loren

Senator Loren Legarda today recommended the activation of a "Nationwide Welfare Fund" for media practitioners and proposed to qualify the killing of members of broadcast and print media while in the performance of their duties as a crime of murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code to protect them while in the lawful exercise of their functions.

Senate Bill No. 1442 was filed by Senator Legarda to provide a social security support especially to free-lance media practitioners to encourage them to perform their noble profession sans corruption and to practice their vital role in Philippine society with credibility, security and dignity.

"The contribution of media practitioners cannot be over emphasized. Despite risks they face in their jobs, many media practitioners earn barely enough for their basic survival needs, much less save for social security such as emergency medical need, hazard pay, and the like."

The Legarda bill requires the Philippine Information Agency to manage the National Welfare Fund which shall include the giving of medical allowances, hazard pay, group health insurance, group life insurance, discount on tuition fees, discount on purchase of reference materials, free legal assistance and seed money for the establishment of cooperatives.

Legarda also filed Senate Bill No. 1426 to protect the media while in the lawful exercise of their functions.

"During the recently concluded 2010 elections, there have been numerous killings of media practitioners which called undue attention on the country's state of press freedom, supposedly one of the freest in the world. We cannot have that in a republican democratic state where democracy is primarily anchored on the freedom of speech and of expression, and where media is considered the Fourth Estate, "the former broadcast journalist now Senator asserted.

Legarda concluded, "The media, who provides and ensures the flow of information on national interests and public welfare across the nation is a powerful sector in nation building. Not only do they shape public opinion, they mold societal values and ideals. We should not be remiss in supporting their concerns."

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