Palace: Congress to surely consider ABS-CBN workers on franchise decision
MANILA, Philippines — Congress will surely take into consideration ABS-CBN’s employees in deciding whether to grant the broadcast firm a franchise or not, Malacañang assured Thursday.
While saying he is sad over the possible layoff of ABS-CBN workers, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque insisted the media network must secure a legislative franchise before returning back on the air.
“Kagaya po ng buong Pilipinas, talagang malungkot po na baka dumating ang punto na marami pong mawawalan ng trabaho sa panahon ng pandemya,” Roque said in an online briefing.
(Just like the entire Philippines, it is really sad that it might come to a point where many will lose their jobs amid a pandemic.)
“Malungkot po talaga iyan, pero malinaw po ang Saligang Batas kasi – hindi naman ang Presidente iyong pupuwedeng mag-rewrite ng Saligang Batas – hindi po pupuwedeng magnegosyo ang broadcast companies na wala pong congressional franchise.”
(That is indeed sad but it is clear under the Constitution – which the President cannot rewrite – those broadcast companies cannot operate without a congressional franchise.)
“So, sana po ay tingnan po natin kung ano ang magiging desisyon ng Kongreso, pero hindi po natin sila pupuwedeng panghimasukan, bagama’t sigurado po ako na iko-consider din ng mga congressmen at ng senador iyong kapakanan ng mawawalan ng mga trabaho,” he went on.
(So let’s see what decision Congress will give but we cannot meddle although I am sure the congressmen and senators will also consider the welfare of those who might lose their jobs.)
Some 11,000 ABS-CBN employees may become jobless should Congress fail to grant a franchise to the broadcasting company.
ABS-CBN president Carlo Katigbak earlier said it may start cutting down on the firm’s workforce by August if they fail to secure a franchise.
But Roque said the company only has 4,000 employees, citing data from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
“So linawin po natin, 4,000 ‘no, at ang sabi po ni [DOLE] Secretary [Silvestre] Bello noong huli ko siyang panauhin dito, hindi naman po automatic na mawawalan sila ng trabaho, dahil hindi po automatic na palibhasa wala silang prangkisa ay wala na rin silang trabaho,” he said.
(Let’s make it clear, it’s 4,000 and Secretary Bello previously said they won’t automatically lose their jobs just because they do not have a franchise.)
“Ang ABS-CBN naman po nagpapatuloy pa rin ng broadcast, lalung-lalo na sa digital platform,” he added.
(ABS-CBN continues to broadcast anyway, especially through their digital platforms.)
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