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ABS-CBN Supervisors’ Union appeals to Duterte

Some 80 supervisors and managers of ABS-CBN Corp. have asked President Rodrigo Duterte —in an emotional letter to use his influence over his allies in Congress to renew the TV network’s franchise.

In their two-page letter, the ABS-CBN Supervisors’ Union urged the President “to mediate for and on our behalf to finally resolve the issue” over the franchise renewal that is set to expire on March 30. The letter was submitted to Malacañang on Feb. 19.

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The network’s 25-year franchise will actually expire on May 4. Under Republic Act No. 3846, television and radio broadcasting companies must get a franchise from the government before they are allowed to operate.

At least 11 bills for the media giant’s franchise renewal have been filed in the House of Representatives, but none have hurdled past the committee level. Congress will go on recess on March 11.

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The ABS-CBN supervisors said they believed that Mr. Duterte alone “has the power” to appeal to his allies in the House of Representatives to hasten the process for the network’s franchise renewal.

“As head of the biggest political party in our country, it is your wisdom alone that these legislators listen. [We] ask you to protect us, your citizens from this uncertainty. You swore before us when you took your oath as Chief Executive that you will champion the cause of the weak,” they said.

They expressed fears of losing their jobs and sources of income.

Signed by 2,000 workers

“When our franchise expires, who will bear the brunt of this matter, Mr. President? It is us,” they said, claiming that 11,000 employees would be affected if their company’s franchise will not be renewed.

In a text message, Raul de Asis, president of the Supervisor’s Union, said that while the letter originated from his group, other employees would be asked to sign it.

So far, some 2,000 workers — from technical and light directors and sound engineers to reporters and security guards — had signed the letter.

Rowena Cos, a segment producer who has been with the network since 2014 when she got her first job after college, said attacks on the network were triggering her anxiety.

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“There are many times I’ve found myself nearly in tears at the thought of losing my job. It’s distracting, to say the least,” she said.

Cos, her family’s breadwinner, expressed anxiety over losing her source of income.

“Losing my job would throw my life out of balance,” she said. “In this economy, how soon would I be able to find another job, with 11,000 others out there looking for openings as well?”

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TAGS: ABS-CBN franchise, ABS-CBN Supervisors' Union, Rodrigo Duterte
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