After the death of veteran journalist and former chairman of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), Nonoy Espina, the nation’s union formally announced on July 8 an emergency fund in honor of the late newsman.
The NUJP said the Nonoy Espina Emergency Fund for Media Workers aims to be a health and welfare fund for journalists and media workers to address their economic vulnerabilities further exposed by the pandemic.
“Magandang paraan ito ng pagbibigay pugay kay Chair Nonoy at sa pagpapatuloy ng pagmamalasakit niya at ng unyon sa mga kapwa mamamahayag,” NUJP Chairman Jonathan de Santos said in a statement.
(This is a good way to honor Chair Nonoy and continue his and the union’s compassion to fellow journalists.)
“Kahit minsan parang tayo-tayo na lang ang nagtutulungan, malaking bagay pa rin na kaya at handa tayong gawin ito para sa isa’t-isa,” he added.
(Even if sometimes it feels like we are the only ones helping each other, it is a great feat that we can and we are ready to do this for ourselves.)
The NUJP has yet to announce the guidelines for the fund but it said the Espina family would like “to channel all ‘abuloy’ or donations for his funeral” to the fund instead.
Nonoy’s sister, Inday Espina-Varona, also a veteran journalist, said in a Facebook post many of their colleagues “live under precarious economic conditions, with no tenure and often, with little social benefits.”
“Pagtibayin natin ang hanay to fight for better wages and work conditions. But let us let Nonoy spark us into doing the practical. Ambag ambag tayo para sa kapatirang mamamahayag,” she said.
(Let’s hold the line to fight for better wages and work conditions. But let us let Nonoy spark us into doing the practical. Let’s contribute for our fellow journalists.)
According to an NUJP study done in March 2021, 15 percent of the more than 200 journalists surveyed nationally earn less than P5,000 per month, while 19 percent earn between P5,000 and P10,000 per month.
Espina succumbed to liver cancer on July 7 in his hometown in Bacolod City. He was 59. Jelo Ritzhie Mantaring