MANILA -- ABS-CBN Corp. announced on Wednesday that it would cease the operations of some of its businesses and lay off workers effective August 31, 2020.
In a statement 5 days after the House committee on legislative franchises denied the media and entertainment company a new 25-year franchise, the network said retrenching workers was the "only way to ensure the continued employment" of the rest of its employees.
ABS-CBN did not give a figure on how many would be laid off.
However, it said that the company would be "paying out separation and retirement benefits and providing job placement programs."
ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Katigbak told a Senate hearing last May 19 that the company would begin its retrenchment by August if it "cannot get back on air soon."
ABS-CBN had been losing P30-P35 million in advertising revenues since the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered it off the air on May 5 after its 25-year franchise expired.
That was before the NTC issued another order on June 30 that shut down its digital broadcast business on TVPlus and its direct-to-home satellite transmission for its cable company, Sky Cable.
Mark Nepomuceno, former head of ABS-CBN corporate services group, testified during the franchise hearings that a non-renewal would jeopardize the livelihood of thousands of employees under ABS-CBN Corp. and 16 other companies under the ABS-CBN Group.
ABS-CBN Corp. and its subsidiaries had a total of 11,071 employees, including those classified as independent contractors, he said.
Last year, the ABS-CBN Group paid more than 20,000 workers and suppliers, he said.
"Hindi lamang ang ABS-CBN Corp., kundi marami sa kasaping kumpanya ng grupo ay maapektuhan ng pagkawala ng franchise," he told the House Committee on Legislative Franchises.
(Many of the other companies under the ABS-CBN Group, not just ABS-CBN Corp., will be affected if a new franchise is not granted.)
READ ABS-CBN'S STATEMENT BELOW:
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.
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.
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.
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.