Labor and human rights organizations in the country stand with ABS-CBN and its workers as they see the forced closure of the network as a grave disadvantage to the 11,000 ABS-CBN workers.
According to labor group Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, shutting down ABS-CBN’s broadcast operations and rendering more than 11,000 workers unemployed at a time of a pandemic is “the height of callousness.”
Human rights organization Karapatan Alliance Philippines considers the closure of the broadcast institution as a “betrayal of the Filipino People,” given that the network provides income for thousands of employees and delivers reliable information during the time Filipinos need it the most.
Kilusang Mayo Uno, meanwhile, highlights the impact of the ceased operations on the network’s workforce. Secretary-General Jerome Adonis said in a statement that the media firm’s shutdown “translates to the loss of livelihood of thousands of families. It is difficult enough for Filipinos to find decent work in normal times, much more now that the country’s economy is bleak with the COVID-19 crisis.” Adonis also called on the National Telecommunications Commission to withdraw the cease and desist order and asked Congress to immediately renew the network’s franchise.
ABS-CBN president and chief executive officer Carlo Katigbak told the Senate, on Tuesday (May 19), that given the difficult economic situation, the company made a promise to its employees that they will “not take away any jobs for three months.” However, Katigbak admitted that they “cannot make that commitment open-ended” because the network is also “limited by financial constraints.” The executive also said that if ABS-CBN doesn’t go back on air, the company may consider starting the retrenchment process.