ABS-CBN shutdown will worsen state of unemployment â labor group
In this Feb. 15, 2020 photo, thousands of ABS-CBN employees gather at the ABS-CBN compound in Quezon City in support of the network's franchise renewal.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman

ABS-CBN shutdown will worsen state of unemployment — labor group

Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - February 25, 2020 - 11:20am

MANILA, Philippines — An outright shutdown of broadcast giant ABS-CBN would ultimately worsen the state of unemployment in both the city and the country, a labor representative of the Quezon City Development Council said Tuesday.

This comes as the latest callout in an ongoing row against the broadcast giant after government lawyers filed a quo warranto petition against ABS-CBN Corporation looking to revoke its legislative franchise.

According to Benjamin Cordero, labor representative of the Quezon City Development Council, the move should result in job security and regularization of the media network's thousands of workers. 

"Shutting down the network will merely worsen the current aggravating state of unemployment and under employment situation of the city and the country as a whole," said Cordero said in a statement. 

The group urged Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go, whom they called "Duterte’s alter ego in the Senate," to "man up" and prioritize measures for the franchise. 

At Monday's hearing, it was Go who bared that the president was hurt by the actions of the media network, despite Palace assertion that the petition was not linked to any personal vendetta. 

"If the president isn’t really vindictive over his unaired ad during the 2016 election, as the senator is saying, we are one with the senator’s call to grant the franchise instead that will benefit the workers and alleviate the lives of the many," Cordero said. 

"The labor sector also believes that this move should result not just jobs for its thousands of workers but should also result for regularization, enough benefits for its workers and respect for union and collective bargaining agreement."

'Uncertainty torture for workers'

The same day the quo warranto petition was filed, labor group Defend Jobs Philippines tagged it as "not just an act to curtail press freedom but an attack against the livelihood of more than 11,000 workers of the Kapamilya network."

Defend Jobs Philippines in their statement cited figures from ABS-CBN's report to the Securities and Exchange Commission and Philippine Stock Exchange, which showed that the company employed 6,730 regular employees, 900 non-regular workers and more than 3,325 talents by the end of 2018.

That equates to some 11,000 workers who are seen to lose their jobs should the company’s franchise renewal bid be rejected. According to Jon Villanueva, president of the ABS-CBN Rank and File Employees’ Union, the uncertainty over the future of their job security has been torture for the 11,000.

“Nangangamba kaming lahat ng empleyado sa araw araw na lumilipas ‘yung panahon. Torture po talaga, he told senators.

Kilusang Mayo Uno secretary general Jerome Adonis put it succinctly in a text message to Philstar.com, saying, "Paglabag yan sa press freedom ng bansa (That is a violation of press freedom in the country)."

Congress is set to take its session break on March 12, while the media giant’s franchise will expire in the first week of May.

'Pro-worker franchise'

On Monday, Sen. Risa Hontiveros in her opening statement said that if the network's franchise were to eventually be extended, the welfare of its employees must be made its top priority. 

"We need a pro-worker franchise," the senator said during the Senate Committee on Public Services hearing on the alleged violations of the media giant on its franchise.

"Dapat genuine ang pagkalinga sa mga 11,000 manggagawa at hindi lang dahil may banta ng pagsasara," Hontiveros told the network executives.

"Kung tunay ang pagiging 'kapamilya,' dapat regular at may benepisyo ang mga empleyado ninyo," she urged. — with a report from Gaea Katreena Cabico

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: January 27, 2021 - 3:35pm

ABS-CBN Corp. stopped broadcasting on its TV and radio stations on May 5, 2020 after the National Telecommunications Commission issued a cease and desist order. The network's franchise had lapsed on May 4 without action by the House of Representatives.

January 27, 2021 - 3:35pm

Rep. Mike Defensor (Anakalusugan Party-list) attempts to put the ABS-CBN franchise up for a vote in the plenary, saying it should be taken up as it is in the House's unfinished business.

The House rejects his motion, but he appeals this. House leaders later on commit to begin tackling its unfinished business beginning Monday. —  Xave Gregorio

January 18, 2021 - 3:38pm

Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto (Batangas) has filed a bill seeking the renewal of the franchise granted to broadcast giant ABS-CBN.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III earlier filed a similar bill at the Senate, saying a majority of Filipinos get their news primarily from TV. 

Franchise bills emanate from the House of Representatives.

January 5, 2021 - 8:00pm

Malacañang is leaving it up to Congress to decide on the new bill seeking to renew the franchise of television network ABS-CBN, which was forced to lay off thousands of workers after its franchise expired last May. 

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque disagreed, saying the fate of the bill depends on lawmakers. 

"Well, again, I beg to differ; that is a sole constitutional prerogative of Congress which must originate from the House of Representatives," Roque says at a press briefing. —  Alexis Romero

January 4, 2021 - 4:53pm

Senate President Tito Sotto files a bill renewing the franchise of broadcast giant ABS-CBN, which went off the air in May.

Sotto's bill seeks to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN Corporation, which expired in March 2020, to another 25 years.

"ABS-CBN's wide reach to Filipinos, alongside with the undeniable advantages of broadcast media relative to mass communication, definitely calls for the immediate renewal of the network's franchise," Sotto says in his bill.

October 6, 2020 - 2:27pm

Broadcast giant ABS-CBN Corp. is returning to free TV starting Saturday after striking a deal with Zoe Broadcasting Network Inc. 

The network announces that "some entertainment shows and movies" it produces will be aired in the "rebranded" A2Z channel 11, formerly Zoe TV, the free TV channel of Jesus Is Lord Church led and founded by Eddie Villanueva.

"A2Z channel 11 will be seen on analog TV in Metro Manila and nearby provinces," the network says.

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