With no franchise, ABS-CBN cuts jobs

After Congress denied it a franchise, media giant ABS-CBN announced job cuts on Wednesday, July 15.

ABS-CBN said in a statement that it is now forced to implement a retrenchment program, as it operates in a limited capacity.

The layoffs will take effect on August 31.

ABS-CBN has yet to disclose how many employees of the network and its subsidiaries would lose their jobs.

"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," ABS-CBN said.

The retrenchment comes as the Philippines sinks into recession and unemployment reaches an all-time high due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"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," ABS-CBN said.

"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 (thank you very much)."

ABS-CBN's congressional franchise expired last May 4. The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered the network to shut down its free television and radio operations on May 5.

On June 30, the NTC also stopped the direct broadcast satellite service of ABS-CBN subsidiary Sky Cable Corporation, as well as the network's TV Plus channels.

The  House committee on legislative franchises junked ABS-CBN's bid for a fresh franchise on July 10, due to alleged "numerous violations" of its old franchise. The network has denied these supposed violations.

Human rights groups and journalists have condemned ABS-CBN's shutdown as an attack on press freedom under the Duterte administration. – Rappler.com

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.