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ABS-CBN Exec Answers Accusations the Network Is Using Its Employees to Gain Public Sympathy

ABS-CBN's employees are experiencing real fear and uncertainty.
IMAGE PEP, ABS-CBN
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ABS-CBN executive Laurenti Dyogi belied accusations the network is using its employees and talents to gain sympathy from the public amid its shutdown from the airwaves. Up to now, there is still no assurance that the network will be able to resume its normal operations.

 ABS-CBN was forcibly shut down by government on May 5, 2020, a day after its 25-year franchise expired.

Pending in Congress are franchise renewal bills for the embattled network.

On May 19, the House of Representatives decided to tackle House Bill 6732, which seeks to grant the network a provisional franchise until October 31, 2020. But instead of passing the bill, legislators decided to talk about granting ABS-CBN a full franchise with a 25-year lifespan.

In the Senate, legislators likewise tackled the issue. Senate Bill 981 aims to grant ABS-CBN a 25-year franchise, while Senate Bill 1521 seeks to grant it a temporary franchise until June 2022.

Senators cannot publish a committee report until legislators in the House of Representatives submit their approved bill on the ABS-CBN franchise. According to the law, all franchise bills must originate from the House of Representatives before these are tackled in the Senate.

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Retrenchment in ABS-CBN

ABS-CBN President at CEO Carlo Katigbak was among the personalities invited to speak at the Senate hearing on May 19. Katigbak bared the network may retrench workers if it continues to stay off the airwaves.

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According to Katigak, the company loses P35 million each day it is not allowed to broadcast on air.

"When we were taken off the air on May 5th, we made a commitment to our employees, given the difficult economic situation following the COVID-19, we made a commitment to them that we would not take away any jobs for three months," said Katigbak.

Since May 5, ABS-CBN has lost an estimated P500,000,000 in revenue.

“We continue to lose a substantial amount of money every month, and I'm afraid that if we cannot get back on air soon by August, we may already have to consider beginning a retrenchment process,” said Katigbak.

“We felt it would be very, very painful to put our employees out on the street without them having an idea as to how they can continue earning a living and continue to feed their families.

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"But unfortunately, we cannot make that commitment open-ended because we are also limited by financial constraints.”

Director Laurenti Dyogi's Tweet

After the senate hearing, director and ABS-CBN head of TV production Laurenti Dyogi expressed his sadness about the possible retrenchment of the network’s employees.

 

A commenter on Dyogi’s tweet accused the network of using its employees and celebrities to gain public sympathy. The commenter used the phrase “paawa effect” to describe Dyogi’s tweet.

Another commenter attacked ABS-CBN, saying it’s the network’s fault why it was shut down by government. “It’s the network’s fault, Big Brother,” said the commenter, referring to Dyogi as the disembodied voice of the Big Brother House.

 “Take care of the people working for the network, but sorry because I think this ideo is just a ploy to gain public sympathy,” he added.

Dyogi responded by saying it is unfair to say ABS-CBN is trying to rouse the public’s emotions and gain sympathy, because it’s real fear and uncertainty that ABS-CBN’s employees are experiencing.

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“I don’t blame you if you can’t relate or fully empathize with them. But I think its unfair to invalidate their feelings as paawa.”

This story originally appeared on Pep.phMinor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Arniel C. Serato for Pep.ph
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