Gov’t gave assurance ABS-CBN’s 11K workers won’t go unemployed — Garin
MANILA, Philippines — One of the solons who voted for the denial of ABS-CBN’s bid for a new franchise on Friday said that she and the other lawmakers were given assurance by the government that “steps are being undertaken” to make sure the 11,000 employees of the network would not be out of work at the duration of the pandemic.
At an online press conference conducted by private sector-initiated Project ARK (anti-body rapid test kits), Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin said that the matter is already being processed by concerned government agencies, such as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
“On the issue of the 11,000 workers, we were very clear in stating and we were assured by the government that there are steps are being undertaken so that we are one with them, that nobody will lose job,” Garin said.
Also in the same briefing, Garin admitted that she was one of the 70 lawmakers who voted to junk ABS-CBN’s application for a fresh 25-year franchise.
The former Health Secretary parried off a reporter’s question who asked her to reconcile her role in the media network’s disenfranchisement — and the subsequent announcement of layoffs of its employees — to Project Ark’s initiative to promote saving livelihood during the coronavirus pandemic.
Garin also serves as Project ARK PCR Initiative Chief Implementor.
“As a member on the committee on franchise, we are tasked to review in terms of abuses in existing franchises that were granted. So I really don’t want to go into the details of the violations because we have rested that before the committee, and it was a collegial decision,” she said.
“I do understand the sentiments of others, with regards to the ABS-CBN franchise. Be that as it may, I also don’t think I will have to stop working as a doctor and somebody that has spearheaded in pulling down the cost of testing and somebody who has organized… doctors both from the private and the government sector so that we can all help crush COVID, if not intercept it at a point when it’s still transmitting,” she added.
Following the House panel’s ruling, ABS-CBN said that it would begin to cease operations of some of its businesses, as well as retrench of some its workers, beginning Aug. 31.
On top of this, a Zoom meeting among Garin’s colleagues in the House of Representatives purportedly revealed a plan to seize the ABS-CBN compound in Quezon City. That online meeting later went viral on social media.
But Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said that a private property is “constitutionally protected.”
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