Over 1K journos, kin get DSWD assistance under Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr admin

2023 July 4

Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rex Gatchalian


MANILA – Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian on Tuesday committed to continue the media welfare project, a program aimed at providing immediate support to media members and their families.

Under the program, more than 1,000 members of the media and their families who were in crisis situations had received hospitalization, medicine and other forms of assistance from the DSWD during the first year of the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

“Our goal here is for our friends in the media to continue their duties as the public’s source of truthful and timely information. No one can deny their crucial role in nation building, while some of them even risk their lives just to fulfill their duties in the society. We can never abandon them during times of crisis, most especially when they are being hospitalized,” Gatchalian said.

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

For the deceased journalists and media practitioners, their children were granted educational assistance so they can still remain in school despite the loss of income in their household.

Just last month, following the directive of Gatchalian, Punay said the DSWD provided a total of PHP50,000 to the family of radio broadcaster Cresenciano “Cris” Bundoquin, who was killed by gunmen in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro.

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, wounding him and his three companions in Quezon City.

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.

“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,” Punay, a former journalist himself, said.

Earlier, the DSWD forged memoranda of agreement with major media organizations, including the National Press Club (NPC), Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), and 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 PHP26.3 million worth of various forms of assistance.

Of the total amount, PHP22.66 million was through the issuance of guarantee letter for the payment of hospital bills, dialysis, chemotherapy and other related hospitalization expenses and PHP3.64 million were through financial aid for their medical 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.

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

Zaldy De Layola (PNA)