DOLE 'one-stop shop' to help displaced workers, including thousands from ABS-CBN
This view shows the ABS-CBN network headquarters in Quezon City in the Metro Manila area on May 5, 2020. The Philippines' top broadcaster ABS-CBN on May 5 was ordered off the air over a stalled operating licence renewal, drawing fresh charges that authorities were cracking down on press freedom.
AFP/Maria Tan
DOLE 'one-stop shop' to help displaced workers, including thousands from ABS-CBN
Alexis Romero ( - July 16, 2020 - 8:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — The labor department is set to establish a one-stop shop where retrenched workers, including those who lost their jobs because of the shutdown of ABS-CBN, can seek employment opportunities, Malacañang said Thursday.

More than 11,000 employees of ABS-CBN are at risk of losing their jobs after the House legislative franchises committee refused to renew the television network's franchise. 

The rejection of the franchise — widely seen as an attack on press freedom — happened as the coronavirus pandemic is battering the economy and destroying jobs. ABS-CBN has announced that it would implement a retrenchment program on August 31.

ABS-CBN's sports department has shut down operations and radio station MOR 101.9 will be ceasing operations. Veteran broadcast journalist Ces Oreña-Drilon has also confirmed that she is among those laid off

READ: ABS-CBN Sports heads to dugout as network begins layoffs

"Well, I have good news... I called (Labor) Secretary (Silvestre) Bello (III). He will have a one-stop shop center in NCR (National Capital Region) and for ABS-CBN so the retrenched employees of ABS-CBN can apply (for jobs)," presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a press briefing.

"He (Bello) will also have a job referral system. A job fair may also be held. All of these are confirmed by Secretary Bello. This will provide opportunities to ABS-CBN workers who lost jobs," he added.

Roque said the one-stop shop and job fair would be open to everyone, not just to former ABS-CBN workers.

Former frequencies may be used for distance learning

At the same press briefing, Roque described as a "good idea" the proposal to use ABS-CBN's former frequencies for distance learning.

"It's a good idea,  but this has to be decided upon by (Education) Secretary Leonor Briones and (Commission on Higher Education) Chairman (Prospero de Vera)," the Palace spokesman said.

Deputy House Speaker Luis Villafuerte, Jr. has filed House Resolution No. 1044 recommending the temporary use by the government of ABS-CBN's television and radio frequencies for distance learning to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on education. 

Villafuerte said the lack of access to laptops and the internet is posing challenges to learners and students.

"Exhausting all possible delivery modes such as the use of untapped television and radio frequencies as those vacated by ABS-CBN is important in keeping students engaged," the resolution read.

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