Palace confident lawmakers will consider ABS-CBN workforce in franchise decision

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 02 2020 02:03 PM

Media practitioners and supporters hold a rally at the Boy Scout Circle in Quezon City to support the renewal of ABS-CBN franchise, February 10, 2020. Maria Tan, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Malacañang said Thursday it was confident that lawmakers would consider the welfare of ABS-CBN workers in deciding the fate of the media giant's franchise.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reiterated that the media network has to secure a license to operate even as he recognized that many ABS-CBN workers are at risk of losing their jobs as the coronavirus pandemic persists.

"Tingnan natin kung ano ang maging desisyon ng Kongreso, pero hindi po natin sila pupuwedeng panghimasukan bagama't sigurado po ako na iko-consider din ng mga congressmen at ng mga senador ang kapakanan ng mga mawawalan ng trabaho," he said in a Palace press briefing.

(Let's see what the decision of Congress will be but we cannot be involved in that. However, I am sure that congressmen and senators will consider the welfare of those who will lose their jobs.)

Some 11,000 workers are at risk of losing their jobs as ABS-CBN has yet to secure a fresh 25-year franchise.

ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak earlier said that retrenchment might start next month, with the company losing P30 million to P35 million in daily revenues since the broadcast shutdown in May.

"Gaya po ng buong Pilipinas, talagang malungkot po na baka dumating na ang punto na marami ang mawawalan ng trabaho sa panahon ng pandemya," Roque said.

(Like the whole Philippines, it is really sad to know that it might come to a point that many people might lose their jobs during a pandemic.)

In April, unemployment ballooned to a record 17.7 percent, which translates to around 7.3 million jobless Filipinos.

On Thursday, the Department of Labor and Employment said it "denounces" supposed attempts by ABS-CBN lawyers and officials to "misrepresent its position to deceive members of the House of Representatives in its bid to gain congressional approval for a new franchise."

"Our labor inspectors found violations of laws and standards by ABS CBN. And on account of those findings, the company took steps to correct those infractions," the labor department said in a statement.

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