Over 11,000 ABS-CBN workers left defenseless during lockdown — labor groups

Ratziel San Juan - Philstar.com
Over 11,000 ABS-CBN workers left defenseless during lockdown � labor groups
Employees and supporters light candles at the gate of the the ABS-CBN compound in Quezon City on May 5, 2020.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — Labor organizations on Tuesday said that more than 11,000 employees employed by ABS-CBN and its subsidiaries are set to lose their main source of livelihood with no other short-term alternatives to turn to in the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown.

This comes after the National Telecommunications Commissions issued a cease and desist order against the media network following the expiration of its 25-year legislative franchise.

RELATED: ABS-CBN ordered to go off air as franchise lapses

The company has since complied by closing down all television and radio operations, including its stations ABS-CBN, DZMM, MOR and DZMM Teleradyo.

Aside from depriving the public access to much-needed information during the pandemic, the shutdown would primarily disadvantage and starve thousands of families, according to labor groups.

“ABS-CBN’s shutdown also translates to the loss of livelihood of thousands of families. It is difficult enough for Filipinos to find decent work in normal times, much more now that the country’s economy is bleak with the COVID-19 crisis,” Kilusang Mayo Uno Secretary-General Jerome Adonis said in a Tuesday statement.

The Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) likewise said that the shutdown would only worsen joblessness caused by the lockdown, calling on public sector employees to stand in solidarity with ABS-CBN workers during the crisis.

RELATED: Jobless rate likely hit highest level since financial crisis in Q2— Nomura

“The Regime spared no quarter for more than 11,000 workers who will lose their jobs. This is in addition to the growing unemployment rate of the country especially since the start of the militarist enforcement of the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Luzon and other parts of the country,” COURAGE said in a statement.

Other major labor groups in the country similarly expressed support for ABS-CBN workers, encouraging Filipinos to support the media network’s plight and demanding accountability from the government.

RELATED: FLAG: House inaction led to ABS-CBN shutdown

Meanwhile, labor coalition Nagkaisa and KMU are set to launch today an online petition-signing to “prod Congress” into approving ABS-CBN’s franchise, KMU Chairperson Elmer Labog told Philstar.com.

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