ABS-CBN on Wednesday, July 15, announced that it will start laying off its workers on August 31, after the Philippine House of Representatives rejected the bills seeking to grant the network giant a fresh 25-year franchise.
“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 end of business day on 31 August 2020,” the network said in a statement.
With 70 affirmative votes, the House Legislative Franchises Committee adopted a resolution recommending the denial of ABS-CBN’s franchise application on Friday, July 10.
According to ABS-CBN, retrenching workers is the only way to ensure the continued employment of the rest of its workforce.
“We are doing all we can to mitigate the pain that will be felt by those affected, including paying out separation and retirement benefits and providing job placement programs. The loss of their jobs comes at a time when the uncertain and perilous impact of the COVID-19 pandemic further makes our decision truly difficult, but inevitable,” ABS-CBN said.
“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,” it added.
ABS-CBN also thanked its workers for all they have done for the network.
“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),” it said.
Veteran broadcast journalist Ces Oreña-Drilon, for her part, confirmed she is among the ABS-CBN workers that are to be laid off.
“This was one of the toughest days I had to face. Telling fellow Kapamilyas that they would lose their jobs by the end of August,” she said in a tweet.
“I lost mine too,” she added.
Meanwhile, Czarina Balba, famously known as DJ Chacha, announced that ABS-CBN radio station MOR 101.9 is also stopping operations.
“We have been told to expect the worst. Retrenchment, or other ABS-CBN departments may stop operations,” she said in Filipino during an interview over DZMM.
“We are under ABS-CBN, we are their FM station here in Manila, but there are MOR stations all over the Philippines. Employees working outside Manila will lose their jobs too.
Last night, our bosses told us that MOR will only operate until August 31,” she added.
ABS-CBN stopped its operations on May 5 in compliance with the National Telecommunications Commission’s cease and desist order due to the expiration of its congressional franchise.
The order directed ABS-CBN to shut down its various TV and radio broadcasting stations nationwide “absent a valid Congressional Franchise as required by law.”
Republic Act No. 7966, which granted the network a 25-year franchise to operate TV and radio broadcasting stations expired on May 4, 2020.
On June 30, NTC issued two separate orders shutting down ABS-CBN’s digital broadcast on TVPlus in Metro Manila and SKY’s satellite broadcast nationwide.