MANILA, July 16 (Mabuhay) — Embattled ABS-CBN Corporation will start downscaling its operations and laying off workers by the end of August, following the congressional decision to reject its franchise bid.
In a statement released Wednesday evening, the broadcaster will start its retrenchment program on August 31, 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,” it said.
“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 difficuly, but inevitable,” it added.
The company earlier stated that some 11,000 employees will be affected should the House of Representatives decide to deny the franchise of the company.
The announcement comes amid a record-high unemployment rate in the Philippines, and the coronavirus pandemic with the number of infections still on the rise in the country.
“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,” said ABS-CBN.
“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,” it added.
Just last Friday, a House of Representatives panel voted to deny the network’s franchise application based on a House technical working group’s recommendation, even as several government agencies maintained that it had no violations.
President Rodrigo Duterte had been consistent in threatening to oppose the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, as he earlier claimed the network did not air political advertisements during the 2016 election campaign which were already paid for.
In February, ABS-CBN president and chief executive officer Carlo Katigbak apologized for the unaired political ads. Duterte accepted the apology two days later, and said he would not interfere with the franchise renewal process in Congress.
Government agencies such as the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Department of Justice (DOJ), have cleared ABS-CBN Corporation of violations. (MNS)