Bato on ABS-CBN fate: What is 11,000 jobs lost compared to the whole Filipino nation?

By CNN Philippines Staff

Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Tuesday said he is prioritizing the welfare of the millions of Filipinos over the 11,000 workers who may lose their jobs if ABS-CBN’s franchise is not renewed.

“What’s is 11,000 compared to the whole Filipino nation na matagal nang sinamantalahan ng isang kumpanya — kung talagang ma-prove yan sa hearing na pinagsamantalahan ang sambayanang Pilipino,” he said in a chance interview.

[Translation: What’s is 11,000 compared to the whole Filipino nation who has been taken advantage of a company — if we can prove in the Senate hearing that ABS-CBN has been taking advantage of Filipinos.]

Nearly 11,000 regular and non-regular employees and talents may lose their jobs if the broadcast giant is forced to cease operations without a renewed franchise.

The close ally of President Rodrigo Duterte — who is a vocal critic of ABS-CBN — said he will listen during the discussions in the Senate. He said that if the hearing can prove the network abused its power, its franchise should not be renewed.

The Senate probe on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal could be set on a much earlier date than February 27, Senator Grace Poe said Tuesday.

The Labor Department is preparing for the worst in case the operations of the TV network will be shut down. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said they have prepared short-term financial assistance for the thousands of workers. He said DOLE can offer minimum wage jobs and possibly livelihood assistance through loans.

The Duterte administration’s top lawyer, Solicitor General Jose Calida, ran to the Supreme Court on February 10 to ask the high court to revoke the existing franchise to ABS-CBN Corporation and its subsidiary, ABS-CBN Convergence Inc., for allegedly violating the rules set by Congress. This comes amid the languishing bills in the House seeking to renew the TV giant’s franchise for another 25 years. The existing franchise expires on March 30.

Since 2018, Duterte has personally vowed to put the Kapamilya channel and its subsidiaries out of business. He has repeatedly slammed the network since 2018 for not airing his presidential campaign advertisements in 2016.

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