As journalists mourn the passing of newsman Jose Jaime “Nonoy” Espina, his family informed the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) on Thursday, July 8, that they wish to channel all donations for his funeral to a health and welfare fund for media workers.
Espina, a former NUJP chairperson, died of liver cancer at his home in Bacolod City on Wednesday, July 7. He was 59.
“We know so many colleagues live under precarious economic conditions, with no tenure and often, with little social benefits,” his sister, Inday Espina-Varona, said in a Facebook post.
Fifteen percent of the more than 200 journalists polled nationwide receive a measly salary of P5,000 and below per month, while 19 percent have a monthly salary ranging from P5,000-P10,000, a March 2021 survey conducted by NUJP showed.
The pandemic has further exposed the economic vulnerabilities of journalists and media workers, with many unable to afford medical treatment when they get sick, it added.
“Let us strengthen the ranks to fight for better wages and work conditions… let us let Nonoy spark us into doing the practical,” Varona, who is also a journalist, said.
“The NUJP Board of Directors warmly accepts the Espina family’s offer, knowing that Nonoy would have wished that too. He had always been caring and compassionate with fellow media workers, especially those struggling in the communities,” it said in a statement.
In fact, when NUJP organized a fundraiser last month, Espina did not want it to be for him alone, saying that other colleagues are also in need, it added.
The emergency fund for media workers is a good way of giving honor to Espina and to continue his mission of helping fellow journalists, NUJP chairperson Jonathan de Santos said.
NUJP will announce the guidelines for the fund in the coming days.*