BY MARCHEL P. ESPINA
The 81 workers, including reporters, of ABS-CBN Bacolod are among the retrenched employees of the broadcast giant following the non-renewal of its franchise bid.
This was confirmed yesterday by the reporters in their emotional Facebook posts.
The network will cease operations in Bacolod and in other provinces by end of August.
In a statement Wednesday, the ABS-CBN Corp. announced that it would cease the operations of some of its businesses and lay off workers effective August 31.
The ABS-CBN management said they are doing all they can to mitigate the pain that will be felt by those affected, including paying out separation and retirement benefits, and providing job placement programs.
“As much as it hurts us to implement this retrenchment program, this is the only way to ensure the continued employment of the rest of our Kapamilya,” the statement added.
ABS-CBN did not reveal how many employees were laid off.
The management thanked the workers who have stayed with them over the years.
“For those who are affected, we pray for you and your families, that you may have the strength and guidance to deal with the challenges ahead. For all that you have done for ABS-CBN, maraming salamat po (thank you very much),” the management said.
Seventy members of the House of Representatives, led by allies of President Rodrigo Duterte, had denied the franchise bid of ABS-CBN.
Duterte had earlier threatened to block the renewal of the network’s franchise due to unaired political ads in the 2016 elections.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines-Bacolod chapter, in a statement yesterday, said “the ABS-CBN workers did not lose their jobs because of the Covid-19 pandemic, they lost their jobs because of the vindictiveness of this administration”.
It said that this is a very tough time for the press and for the country’s democracy.
“We call on our colleagues to resist the further attempt of this government to shackle the press. Enough is enough. We have to fight back,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, a noise barrage will be staged at major thoroughfares of Bacolod City tomorrow afternoon.*