This file handout photo shows GMA Network Center, one of the buildings at the broadcast giant's Quezon City complex.
Handout photo, file
GMA freelancer tests positive for COVID-19
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - March 21, 2020 - 4:17pm

MANILA, Philippines — GMA Network on Friday said one of its freelance production talents tested positive on the novel coronavirus disease.

In a statement, the media giant said the patient was last at GMA’s Annex Building on February 28 and is currently being treated in a hospital.

“The Network is in close coordination with the Department of Health and the Local Government Unit through the barangay officials to ensure that all necessary protocols are being followed in addressing the situation,” the network said in a statement.

GMA also said that those who came in contact with the patient, including employees and talents, have already been informed and are monitoring their health.

Areas visited by the patient were vacated and disinfected.

“Intensified efforts are now being undertaken by the Network to ensure the safety and well-being of all its employees and talents,” it added.

GMA News TV, the network’s free news and public affairs TV channel, temporarily went off air for two days amid the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.

The channel went back to broadcasting, with a new schedule, on Saturday, March 21.

Scaled-down operations

In a related development, Talents Association of GMA Network slammed the media company’s “misleading” statement that it is extending financial aid to its workers “when it truth it will be implementing a no-work-no-pay shceme for the staff out work.”

In a statement, TAG noted that while GMA is giving full salaries and cash equivalent of its rice benefits to regular employees, talents and project staff will only be getting a “cash advance” or loan for the latter half of March.

The group noted that GMA in its statement on March 19: “Talents and project employees will still be able to receive their salaries on March 25 and 30, respectively. In addition, a cash advance will be made available for them for their April 10 and 15 pay-outs.”

They pointed out that the talents should rightfully receive their salary on end of March for rendering work for March 1-15, but the network’s News TV went off air on March 19.

“GMA News TV was forced to go off air, simulcasting only GMA shows on the news channel, and suspending work for the personnel behind Balintanghali,, Quick Response, News TV Live, Stand for Truth and State of the Nation With Jessica Soho,” they said.

“The downscale means personnel behind these shows are out of work for at least a month, many of them talents and project employees,” TAG added.

The group urged protection for frontliners in the battle against the pandemic, which include media workers.

“Our colleagues, among the best, among the most hardworking in the industry, deserve so much better than this,” they also said.

COVID-19 GMA NETWORK NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
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