PTV-4 union officers sacked over SONA rally
MANILA, Philippines – When Jasmine Barrios joined state media PTV-4 as a twenty-something copy writer, she was thinking of it as a form of public service.
Years of deprived benefits and what she referred to as the demoralization of the rank-and-file employees made her jaded, she said.
The 45-year-old mother of two is one of the 9 officers of People's Television Employees' Association (PTEA) who were dismissed from PTV-4 for taking part in a joint rally in the morning of President Benigno Aquino III's State Of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 28.
According to their dismissal papers obtained by Rappler, "in the course of their mass demonstration, their respective works had to suffer."
"The excuse they were claiming that no technical problems occurred while they were out does not amount to justification as to relieve them from an unauthorized act of leaving their posts during working hours," the paper read.
"As civil servants, they must always strive to advance the public interest over and above personal gain," it read further.
But a host of grievances against the PTV-4 management drove them to the streets that July morning, including premiums not remitted to state insurance firm Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) despite continued deductions in their salaries and the failure to pay retirement benefits to retired PTV-4 employees.
PTEA President Angelina Arguellas alleged that the network management has not increased their salaries in 8 years, has not provided employees overtime pay in 3 years, has continued hiring contractual employees, has not remitted their tax payments despite deductions, and has concealed details regarding the impending company reorganization.
Arguellas described this period in PTV-4 as rock bottom for labor rights in her 17 years of work with the network.
In a 4-page memorandum from the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), the following officers who joined the SONA rally were found guilty of grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service:
- Angie Arguelles - PTEA vice president
- Reynaldo Castillo - PTEA chairman of the board
- Jasmine Barrios - PTEA secretary - PTEA
- Leonito Docto - PTEA board member
- Boogie Ambat - PTEA board member
Arguelles said 4 others, including PTEA board members Sammy Hagosojos, Danilo Rentoy, Arvin Maglonzo, and PTEA treasurer Ana Marie Tomines, were likewise dismissed.
The memorandum confirming the dismissal of the 5 PTEA officers was signed by PCOO Secretary Herminio "Sonny" Coloma Jr.
PTEA claimed that as early as August 5, before the charges against the dismissed officers were lodged, Coloma had already expressed his "sama ng loob" (resentment) over a banner that referred to him as "berdugo ng mga (executioner of) government broadcast employees."
In his memorandum, Coloma said the placards displayed during the SONA rally, which PTEA participated in as a member of the National Alliance of Broadcast Unions (NABU) "contain abusive, vulgar, or defamatory remarks."
The "remarks as publicly displayed in the placards they used in the street" and the photos showing the banners that "proliferated in social media caused undue prejudice to the Government, thereby creating distrust and destroying the confidence of the people in Government," he said.
Coloma confirmed the "dismissal even on the first offense" of the PTEA officers – all long-time PTV-4 employees – due to the multiple charges against them. – Rappler.com