1,000-plus media members, kin get DSWD aid

July 4, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 220 views

MORE than 1,000 members of the media and their families have received assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) during the first year of the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr.

The beneficiaries, under the DSWD’s Media Welfare Project, were given hospitalization, medicine and other assistance.

DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian has committed to continue the program aimed at providing immediate support to media members, who are considered by the government as partners in nation building and in promoting the welfare of the Filipino people.

As head of the media welfare project, Undersecretary for Innovations Edu Punay reported that from July 2022 to June 2023, the DSWD provided various assistance to 1,025 journalists and other media workers, including their families and non-media referrals.

“This project is truly a brain-child of President Bongbong Marcos since he was fully aware of the plight of the media and press, as some of them are experiencing illnesses and could not afford hospitalization and medicine expenses.

With this program, we can now let them feel that the government cares for their health and welfare,” explained Punay, a former journalist.

The DSWD has earlier forged memoranda of agreement with major media organizations, including the National Press Club (NPC), Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), among others.

From the number of assisted members of the media, the DSWD has provided a total of Php 26. 3 million worth of various forms of assistance.

Of the total amount, Php 22.66 million was through the issuance of Guarantee Letter for the payment of hospital bills, dialysis, chemotherapy and other related hospitalization expenses.

The remaining Php 3.64 million were through financial aid for medical expenses of members who have difficulties in procuring expensive maintenance medicines, transportation expenses and burial assistance for those who have deceased relatives.

On top of the assistance being provided by the DSWD under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) program, some members of the press were also referred to the DSWD’S Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) so that they could set up micro and medium enterprises.

For the deceased journalists and media practitioners, their children were granted with educational assistance so they can continue their studies.

Just last month, following the directives of Sec. Gatchalian, Usec. Punay provided a total of P50,000 to the family of radio broadcaster Cresenciano ‘Cris’ Bundoquin, who was killed by gunmen in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro.

Meanwhile, the media welfare division under Punay’s office is also providing assistance to the family of Rene Joshua Abiad, a photojournalist of Remate newspaper who was shot by armed men.

One of the three of Abiad’s family members hit in the shooting died two days later.

Abiad is currently confined in an undisclosed hospital and undergoing treatment.

Abiad’s 4-year-old nephew who was wounded in the attack, died a few days later due to a bullet wound in the head.

Usec. Punay assured that the DSWD, in coordination with the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS) will prioritize the provision of medical assistance for the hospitalization expenses of Abiad and the other victims.

Burial assistance is currently being processed for the family of the 4-year-old victim who passed away.