'Makakapag-aral pa ba kami?': Families of ABS-CBN workers suffer from franchise denial

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 12 2020 09:56 AM | Updated as of Jul 12 2020 10:05 AM

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MANILA - The families of some 11,000 ABS-CBN workers are also affected following lawmakers' decision to deny the network a fresh franchise, officials of the company's employees unions said Sunday.

Raul de Asis, president of the ABS-CBN Supervisory Employees Union, said he was willing take any jobs to sustain his family's needs.

"Yung mga bata mismo na nakakapanood sila sa TV, ang tanong nila sa akin, 'Daddy makakapag-aral pa ba kami?' Yun po yung pinakamasakit doon...,'" he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(The children who watched it on TV asked me, 'Daddy, will we still be able to go to school?' That's very painful...)

"Masakit pero kailangan tanggapin dahil yun ang realidad."

(It's hard but we should accept it because it's the reality.)

Workers of the country's largest broadcasting firm will continue to look for possible solutions and support its management, said de Asis and Jon Villanueva, president of ABS-CBN's Rank and File Employees Union.

"Di po pakahulugan na end of fight na. Ang gusto kong maging mensahe sa lahat ng mangggawa ng ABS-CBN, kami po ay patuloy na mananawagan at kikilos para makuha ng ABS-CBN kung anuman yung kailangan nating makuha. Patuloy po kaming kikilos," Villanueva said.

(It doesn't mean it's the end of the fight. What I want to tell all workers of ABS-CBN, we will continue to call for and move to achieve what ABS-CBN needs. We will continue to fight.)

Villanueva lamented that a lawmaker who represents the labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines reportedly voted against the network's franchise bid.

""Yung TUCP na si Cong. Raymond Mendoza na nagtataguyod ng welfare ng manggawa, bumoto para kitilin yung hanapbuhay ng manggagawa," he said.

(Cong. Raymond Mendoza from TUCP, which stands for workers' welfare, voted to kill the livelihood of ABS-CBN workers.)

The House of Representatives has yet to release an official list of the 70 congressmen who voted to deny ABS-CBN's application for a new franchise.

During Friday's proceeding, only 11 lawmakers, as announced by the Committee on Legislative Franchises, were in favor to grant the media network a fresh franchise.

De Asis said some union members could not accept the decision.

"Nahihirapan sila, hanggang sa ngayon, kahit yung mga miyembro natin sa Mindanao, Cebu, ibang part ng Luzon," he said.

(It's very hard for them, especially now, even our members in Mindanao, Cebu, and other parts of Luzon.)

"Kung meron nga pong salitang nagdurugo yung puso, yun po talaga yung literal na naramdaman namin ngayon," added Villaneuva.

(If there is such a phrase as bleeding heart, that's literally what we are feeling now.)

De Asis again urged Sen. Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa to offer solutions following his remarks for the network's employees who might get laid off, to just "find another job."

"Ang sa'kin, sana, ang pakiusap ko kay Sen. Bato, sa susunod na magbibigay siya ng statement, isipin niya muna kung meron siyang i-o-offer na trabaho," he said.

(I urge Sen. Bato, the next time he gives a statement, to think if he can even offer a job.)

"At least meron kang pag-asa... Yun sana yung dapat niyang i-offer sa taumbayan. Hindi yung nai-boto na siya, eh, 'Bahala na kayo sa buhay niyo!' Almost 8 to 10 million ang walang trabaho ngayon. Ang daming kompanya na nagsasara."

(At least you have some hopes... That's what he should offer to the people, and not leave them to fend for themselves after he's been voted into power. There are almost 8 to 10 million jobless Filipinos right now. Many companies are closing.)

De Asis said it was the people's money used to pay Dela Rosa's education at the Philippine Military Academy, and his salary a police officer before, and now, as as a senator.

"Sana ibalik niya naman ito sa tao nang maganda at makabuluhan na salita, at bigyan ng pag-asa. Yun po sana ang inaasahan namin sa kanya—solusyon," he said.

(I hope he can give it back to the people by given them substantial statements and hope. That's what we expect from him--solution.)

ABS-CBN and its subsidiaries have over 11,000 workers, as of December 2019.

The company, as well as lawmakers and several groups who sought for the granting of a franchise, have cited, among others, the plight of the workers and their families especially amid the coronavirus pandemic that has dragged the economy.

Before the denial of its franchise application, ABS-CBN was forced to halt on May 5 its broadcast operations on free TV and radio. Its previous franchise expired a day earlier.

Two weeks ago, two alias cease and desist orders were also issued against ABS-CBN's digital broadcast in Metro Manila, and its sister company Sky Cable's direct broadcast satellite service nationwide.

ABS-CBN Ceo and President Carlo Katigbak told senators in May that the company may "consider" retrenching workers by August if it fails to resume broadcast, citing financial constraints. 

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