FALSE: ABS-CBN 'jacked up the number of its employees'

Claim: A post that was shared on Facebook on Wednesday, May 6, said that ABS-CBN Corporation "may have jacked up the number of its employees" from 4,401 to 11,000.

The post included a graphic that cites a Manila Times article by reporter Jomar Canlas published on February 26, two days after the Senate hearing on the media giant's franchise expiration.

The article said that based on a letter dated February 21 from Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Caesar Dulay to Solicitor General Jose Calida, the network has only 4,401 employees. This number, according to the report, is based on "BIR form 160-CF," or “Annual Information Return of Income Taxes Withheld on Compensation and Final Withholding Taxes."

The graphic was first shared on May 6 and has since received 917 reactions, 209 comments, and 881 shares as of posting.

This claim was sent to Rappler for fact checking by our readers.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: Responding to the claim that they lied about the number of their employees, ABS-CBN told Rappler that the 11,017 employees they mentioned publicly covers a different time period and scope from the figure in the BIR form cited in the letter to Calida.

The 11,017 that ABS-CBN mentions includes employees – as of December 2019 – of their broadcast business segment and its subsidiaries, which will also be affected if the broadcast business shuts down. This is according to former ABS-CBN corporate services head Mark Nepomuceno, who clarified the number at a February 24 Senate hearing.

When asked about the 4,401 number, ABS-CBN told Rappler that it is from their 2018 BIR form 1604-CF which does not cover all employment types. 

The form “Annual Information Return of Income Taxes Withheld on Compensation and Final Withholding Taxes" is 1604-CF, not 160-CF, as reported by Manila Times. It was updated in 2019 due to the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law. It is now split into two: 1604-C and 1604-F. 

The graphics circulating online and the Manila Times article they cite do not specify employment type or the year that the BIR form covered, which is by itself, already misleading.

At the February 24 Senate hearing, Nepomuceno said they have 5,918 employees who work for their broadcast business. The rest work with the ABS-CBN Foundation and other ABS-CBN subsidiaries that numbered over 60 in 2018.

The broadcast business donates to ABS-CBN Foundation's programs and funds its monthly operations. The foundation itself has 400 employees who are part of the 11,017 pool of ABS-CBN employees. With the closure of ABS-CBN, the foundation's work and employees will also be affected.

ABS-CBN Corporation also disclosed in their annual report, submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 11, 2019, they had 10,955 employees as of December 31, 2018, with an expected headcount growth of 2% within the next 12 months.

The post on Facebook began to circulate on May 6, a day after the National Telecommunciations Commission issued a cease and desist order against the network. – Vernise L Tantuco/Rappler.com