Welfare of 11,000 ABS-CBN workers on Duterte's mind: Deputy House Speaker

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 27 2020 07:02 PM | Updated as of Feb 27 2020 09:20 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte is thinking of the welfare of the thousands of workers of ABS-CBN Corp. who could lose their jobs if the broadcast giant is shut down after the expiry of its current franchise on May 4, Deputy House Speaker Rose Marie "Baby" Arenas said Thursday.

“Malaking tulong ang naibahagi ng karanasan ng Pangulo sa usapin ng prangkisa ng ABS-CBN upang ito ay maging tulay sa makabuluhang pagbabago," Arenas said.

(The experience of the President provided a big contribution on the franchise issue of ABS-CBN, so that this could lead to significant change.)

Arenas is an author of one of the bills seeking to grant ABS-CBN a fresh 25-year franchise.

Aside from citing the value of ABS-CBN's programs and its role in the country's broadcast industry, Arenas said in House Bill No. 3521 she filed in August last year that it is also important to save the jobs of the company's workers.

In her statement Thursday, Arenas said, "Alam natin na ang Pangulo ay likas na maawain, maunawain at higit ang malasakit sa kapakanan ng mga mahihirap, kabilang ang mga pamilyang umaasa sa 11,000 manggagawa ng ABS-CBN Group.”

(We know that the President, by nature, is merciful, understanding, and is very compassionate towards the poor, including the families who depend on the 11,000 workers of ABS-CBN Group.)

On Wednesday, Duterte, who in the past has repeatedly threatened to block the new franchise application of ABS-CBN, accepted the apology of ABS-CBN over a 2016 election ad that offended him. ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Katigbak told a Senate hearing last Monday that the company felt the airing of the paid ad was compliant with laws and regulations.

Duterte maintained though that the franchise of ABS-CBN is for Congress to resolve.

ABS-CBN Corp. said it was "grateful and humbled" that Duterte accepted its apology, and committed to "becoming a better organization and to continue to provide more meaningful service to Filipinos."

Welcoming Duterte's acceptance of ABS-CBN's apology, Isabela Rep. Antonio Albano, vice-chair of the House panel tasked with hearing franchise bills, said, “Certainly, the timing seems to be becoming brighter and more conducive to have a good hearing."

“In the coming days, weeks, and months, we expect to tackle this franchise bill and show the world that we as legislators in the House are fair, honest, and hard working to promulgate a justifiable and amicable decision for ABS-CBN and it’s employees.”

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said he is eyeing May, at the earliest, to start tackling the pending bills.

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-- with a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News