‘Yakap Kapamilya’: ABS-CBN reporters, personalities express support to colleagues as retrenchment looms

July 16, 2020 - 3:14 PM
ABS-CBN employees react after the Philippine congress voted against the renewal of the broadcast network's 25-year franchise, outside ABS-CBN headquarters, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, July 10, 2020. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez

ABS-CBN reporters and personalities took to social media to express their disappointment and frustration over their home network’s announcement that it would retrench workers after the non-renewal of its franchise.

Seventy lawmakers voted in favor of a resolution to deny ABS-CBN of its license to operate. Only 11 representatives were against it, two inhibited and one abstained in a historic vote last July 10.

Because of this verdict, ABS-CBN in a statement on July 15, announced that it will start laying off workers in August.

“With the non-renewal of its congressional franchise, ABS-CBN is now forced to cease the operations of some of its businesses and implement a retrenchment program covering ABS-CBN and its subsidiaries effective of the business day on 31 August 2020,” part of it read.

TV Patrol issued the same statement on social media.

ABS-CBN’s radio, television and digital operations, which has over 11,000 employees, were forcefully shut down on May 5 and June 30, respectively in compliance with the National Telecommunication Commission’s cease-and-desist order because ABS-CBN’s former franchise lapsed.

‘Mahigpit na yakap, Kapamilya’

TV hosts Kim “Kuya Kim” Atienza and Bianca Gonzales, and as well as television anchor Bernadette Sembrano were among those who expressed their heartbreak over the looming retrenchment of their fellow Kapamilya amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

ABS-CBN reporter Mike Navallo also encouraged his colleagues and supporters of the network to remember these events in the future.

“Isang matinding yakap, mga Kapamilya. Kung anuman ang nararamdaman niyo ngayon, damhin niyo lang. Ipunin ang mga resibo dahil balang araw, tayo naman ang magsasabi: ‘And I will make sure that you will remember this episode of our times forever,’” Navallo said.

Reporter Chiara Zambrano, on the other hand, called the network shutdown a “massacre of Mother Ignacia” and called out those who voted against the franchise renewal.

“This is on you, almost salivating with pride. You, his mindless enablers. You who are too spineless to stand your ground and speak your mind. We will never forget,” she said.

Meanwhile, another journalist Anjo Bagaoisan, wrote a lengthy post on Facebook, wherein he warned other people against “gaslighting” his colleagues to put the blame on their loss of livelihood to the ABS-CBN management.

“Huwag na huwag niyong iga-gaslight (babalingan ng bintang) ang mga manggagawa ng ABS-CBN na kesyo kasalanan ng mga boss namin bakit marami ang mawawalan ng trabaho. (Oo, nag-anunsyo na kami na magbabawas ng tauhan ang buong korporasyon.),” Bagaoisan wrote.

He pointed out that they knew how their employer defended and took care of them over the years and during the congressional hearings for its franchise renewal.

“Ni minsan, hindi namin naramdaman yun mula sa mga nagnais lang na pabagsakin ang aming kompanya dahil lang sa vendetta,” the reporter said.

Huwag na huwag niyong iga-gaslight (babalingan ng bintang) ang mga manggagawa ng ABS-CBN na kesyo kasalanan ng mga boss…

Posted by Anjo Bagaoisan on Wednesday, July 15, 2020


Aside from Kapamilya colleagues, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines also issued a statement of solidarity with ABS-CBN employees.

It said that it is saddened by the “inevitable” announcement following the “unjust rejection of its franchise application by the House committee on legislative franchises.”

“We cannot begin to imagine the pain of those forced out of their jobs because congressional lapdogs did their vindictive master’s bidding,” the group said.

“Sa aming mga kasama at kaibigan sa Kapamilya Network, ang aming mahigpit na pakikiisa. Kasama niyo kami sa patuloy na pakikibaka para makamtan ang katarungan sa inyong sinapit sabay ng ating pagsulong sa malayang pamamahayag at pagpapahayag,” it added.

Are there plans for the employees?

Last Tuesday, the Department of Labor and Employment said that it will help laid-off workers to look for other opportunities in the market.

“When it comes to cases such as that one, we ensure that the separation pay is really given in case of closure of the establishment. We can also identify opportunities on the labor market that they want to pursue,” Labor Assistant Secretary Dominique Tutay said.

“We have profiling of employment facilitation services and we also offer services to those displaced who want to retool and reskill,” she added.

The agency also assured that they will get their legally-mandated separation pay. However, in terms of cash assistance, Tutay said that this depends on the budget.

Rep. Mike Defensor (Anakalusugan Party-list), who was among the lawmakers who opposed ABS-CBN’s on-air return continued to accuse the broadcast giant of tax evasion in an interview with ANC on July 14.

He argued the Lopez family who owns the broadcast giant can “return” to the terminated workers the tax money they supposedly evaded.