MANILA, Philippines - Television station RPN-9 is losing as much as P5 million a month, according to its acting president Robert Rivera.
RPN-9 management on Monday announced it is laying off some 200 employees, as it continues to suffer financial losses.
In an interview on ANC, Rivera said the station has not been generating revenues in recent years.
"For the past 4 years, we are shelling out P5 million a month for our operating expense... Unfortunately walang revenue po na pumapasok because we are not producing any more shows, except Newswatch Evening Edition and Newswatch Final Edition," he said.
He denied that Newswatch has gone off the air, saying their operations are still "business as usual."
Rivera said the station currently gets revenues from the blocktime deal with Solar, but it is not enough to sustain its operations."They're the ones keeping the company afloat because of the blocktime revenues. We have no other sources of income," he said.
RPN-9, a government-sequestered station is now partly owned by Solar Entertainment and a group associated with the late Ambassador Roberto Benedicto after several government attempts to privatize it.
However, the RPN-9 employees' union is mulling the possibility of filing a case before the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) over the mass layoffs.
Raymon Tomale Jr., president of the RPN directors and supervisors union, said the retrenchment order violates their collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
"This is a total disregard and in complete violation of our CBA... The CBA is existing and actually, the instruction of DOLE is proceed immediately with our CBA negotiations. Na-shock kami when we were formally advised by management that we should not report to work today. Bakit ganun nangyari? Kami nalulungkot sa nangyari," he told ANC.
The management and the union are continuing talks to resolve the issue.
Despite the station's losses, Rivera said RPN-9 will address all the benefits and claims of its employees.
"The company is continually experiencing financial losses. Right now, we are sourcing funds. I hope to God we will be able to source immediately so once and for all ang kabayaran na ma-realize under a win-win situation," Rivera said.