Employees of ABS-CBN Corporation should neither get angry nor blame the government for their latest predicament following the non-renewal of the network’s franchise, according to Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.
Panelo pointed at the responsibility of ABS-CBN owners on the franchise issue, alleging they have “raked millions,” avoided certain tax payments, and should at least look after the plight of their workers.
“Malaki ang kinamal na salapi ng network na ito. That is why precisely ano ba yung sinabi ko sa inyo ‘yung mga nagsasabi na 11,000 ang mawawalan ng trabaho, tungkulin po ng ABS-CBN. Kayong mga empleyado ng ABS-CBN, huwag kayong magalit sa gobyerno o sa Kongreso (This network accumulated huge wealth. That is why I said those saying 11,000 workers will lose their jobs, it’s the duty of ABS-CBN. You the ABS-CBN employees should not get angry at the government or Congress),” he said during his “Counterpoint” program Friday.
While the government is ready to help ABS-CBN workers, Panelo said the employer is the principal entity that must provide benefits to its employees and address any financial concerns.
“Kung hindi kayo mabibigyan ng kaukulang benepisyo at kayo ay mabigyan ng mga trabaho sa iba pa nilang kompanya ay hindi sila nag-handa. Kaya huwag ninyo sisihin ang gobyerno (If they cannot give you corresponding benefits and they cannot give you jobs in their other companies, they did not prepare. So do not blame the government),” he said.
“Tanungin ninyo ang network. Pinaghandaan ninyo ba kami? Kami ay pumasok dito, wala kaming kalaban-laban. Mabuti pa kayo you have raked millions, fortunes, wealth sapagkat ang laki ng kinita ninyo. Ang laki na hindi ninyo ibinayad sa gobyerno dahil magaling kayong mag-maniobra (Ask your network. ‘Did you prepare for us? We worked here and we are helpless. You’re better off, you have raked millions, fortunes, wealth because you have large profits. You did not pay a huge amount to the government because you were good at maneuvering),” he added.
ABS-CBN network has announced that it would cease operating some of its businesses and lay off workers by the end of August. The network is unable to resume operation of its free television and radio stations when a House panel found the company “undeserving” of the grant of franchise last week.
The Palace official said he does not believe all ABS-CBN workers will lose their jobs since news and entertainment programs are still aired on other platforms.
He also remained optimistic that ABS-CBN under the leadership of Carlo Katigbak will still take care of its workers, citing the “new generation” of Lopezes has already shown their “humility.”
Nonetheless, Panelo said the government is ready to provide assistance to workers who may lose their jobs.