MANILA -- Workers of Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC-13) should write to President Rodrigo Duterte if they want his office to investigate allegations of corruption and mismanagement inside the government-run television network, Malacañang said Tuesday.
"Kung ang unyon po ay gustong mag-imbestiga ang Office of the President, lumiham po kayo nang diretso sa Office of the President at makakarating naman po nang diretso ang liham ninyo sa Presidential Management Staff," said Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque.
(If the union wants the Office of the President to investigate, then write directly to the office and your letter will reach the Presidential Management Staff.)
The Palace in the meantime will "defer" the matter to the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), which supervises IBC-13, he said.
The TV network has allegedly failed to raise the salaries of its workers since 2008, contrary to a collective bargaining agreement, IBC Employees Union (IBC-EU) president Alberto Libo-on said Monday.
"Nangyari ito dahil itinali ng management ang mga empleyado sa palpak na rehabilitasyon at nakabinbin na rin ng mahabang panahon ang itinutulak na pagsasa-pribado ng kompanya sa kadahilanang hindi namin maiintindihan," he said in a statement.
(This happened because the management tied the employees to its failed rehabilitation and the company's privatization remains stalled for reasons we cannot understand.)
IBC-13 lost money in a joint venture with a private company for the rehabilitation of its property in Quezon City, he said.
"Tila naglaho rin parang bula ang retirement fund na ipinangako mula sa JVA para pambayad sa mga magretiro nang panahon na nilagdaan ang kasunduan," said Libo-on.
"Kaya namatay na lamang ang ilang mga nagretiro na hindi pa nila napakinabangan ang kanilang perang pinaghirapan. Habang ang iba naman ay kasalukuyang nakikipagdigma sa sakit at naninikluhod pa sa kompanya na ibigay ang perang sa kanila naman talaga," he said.
(It is as if the retirement fund promised in the JVA for retired employees vanished when the agreement was signed. Some retired employees have passed away without benefiting from their hard work. Others are battling illness and begging the company to give them the money that belongs to them.)
Libo-on claimed officials also gave workers false information on their blended learning program agreements with the Department of Education. He did not elaborate on this.
He also cited a Commission on Audit (COA) report that found officials enjoyed a P1.87-million illegal wage hike last year, failed to pay P146.3 million in value added tax, and did not submit a corporate operating budget
PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar failed to take action on these allegations despite numerous letters from and dialogues with IBC-13 employees, Libo-on claimed.
"Dumaan na ang administrasyong, 'Erap para sa Mahirap', 'Strong Republic', 'Daang Matuwid' ngunit lahat ng mga ito ay hindi man lamang umabot sa bakuran ng network na kung tutuusin ay ekstensiyon lamang ng Malakanyang," he said.
(The administrations 'Erap for the Poor', 'Strong Republic' and 'Straight Path' have passed, but all of them have failed to reach the network, which is an extension of Malacañang.)
"At ngayon sa gobyernong may slogan na 'Change is Coming' ay umaasa pa rin kami na darating na ang inaasam na magandang pagbabago at matutuldukan na ang paghahari ng sindikato sa IBC-13," he said.
(Under the current government with the slogan 'Change is Coming,' we are still hoping that the change that we are hoping for will come and the reign of the syndicate at IBC-13 will end.)
Andanar and an officer-in-charge of the network has yet to respond to requests for comment.