Ces Drilon, Korina Sanchez among first workers laid off by ABS-CBN

Pauline Macaraeg

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Operations of several departments like MOR 101.9 FM and ABS-CBN Sports + Action are also shutting down amid massive staff retrenchment

Veteran broadcast journalists Ces Drilon and Korina Sanchez are among the first workers laid off by ABS-CBN Corporation following the non-renewal of the network’s legislative franchise.

ABS-CBN announced on Wednesday, July 15, that it will cut jobs effective August 31. The network has yet to disclose how many workers will be retrenched. (READ: With no franchise, ABS-CBN cuts jobs)

“This was one of the toughest days I had to face. Telling fellow kapamilyas that they would lose their jobs by end of August. I lost mine too,” Drilon said in a tweet on Thursday, July 16. Drilon is also the executive editor of ANCX, ABS-CBN News Channel’s lifestyle block and publication.

Sanchez said on her Instagram account on Thursday that the company called its workers one by one, including her, to let them know they were being retrenched. She called the situation “a bloodbath.”

“This family is slowly but surely being torn apart. We are called one by one, personally, to be told that we are ‘discontinued.’ Not news to me. I tried to be prepared. But how can you prepare for comatose, or death, really? Others taking it much harder. They have much less options and means. We help those we simply can’t deny, but few can’t save all,” Sanchez said.

ABS-CBN has at least 11,000 employees, including regular and contractual workers. ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak said as early as May 19 that the company “may have to consider a retrenchment process” by August if the network stays off-air. The company said in May that it was losing around P30 to P35 million for every day that it does not operate.

In an interview with DZMM Teleradyo on Thursday, radio host Czarina Balba – better known as DJ Chacha  – said that FM station MOR 101.9 will also cease operations after August 31. While she said she’d still be around because of DZMM, she said many other radio station workers will lose their jobs.

So kami nga po ay under ng ABS-CBN, kami ang FM station dito sa Manila. Pero hindi lang kami ‘yun. Marami pa pong MOR sa buong Pilipinas. Hindi lang sa Maynila ang mga mawawalan ng trabaho,” DJ Chacha said. There are 18 MOR FM stations all over the Philippines.

(We are ABS-CBN’s FM station here in Manila. But it’s not only us. There are many MOR radio stations in the Philippines. Workers in Manila are not the only ones who will lose their jobs.)

ABS-CBN Sports + Action earlier announced that it is shutting down amid massive staff retrenchment. Other departments like Current Affairs, Lifestyle, and Research are also preparing to cease operations.

The massive layoff comes as the coronavirus pandemic drives the Philippines toward recession.

“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,” Kane Errol Choa, head of corporate communications of ABS-CBN, said in a statement on Wednesday, July 15.

A week ago on July 10, the House panel on legislative franchises rejected the bills seeking to grant ABS-CBN a fresh franchise. Among the members of the committee, 70 congressmen voted to adopt the rejection, 11 to dismiss the rejection, 2 to inhibit, and 1 to abstain. – Rappler.com

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Pauline Macaraeg

Pauline Macaraeg is digital forensics researcher for Rappler. She started as a fact checker and researcher in 2019, before becoming part of Rappler's Digital Forensics Team. She writes about the developing digital landscape, as well as the spread and impact of disinformation and harmful online content. When she's not working, you can find her listening to podcasts or K-pop bops.