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ABS-CBN May Have to Cut Jobs If It Remains Off-Air

"By August, we may already have to consider beginning a retrenchment process."
by Arniel C. Serato
May 21, 2020
ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Katigbak: " August, we may already have to consider beginning a retrenchment process.”
Photo/s: Jerome Ascano / Courtesy: ABS-CBN News

ABS-CBN Corporation may resort to retrenching people if the company continues to be off the air by August.

In a Senate hearing earlier this week, the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer Carlo Lopez Katigbak told the panel the network has been suffering losses since its untimely closure on May 5.

According to a report, ABS-CBN Corporation has been losing millions of pesos from advertising revenues daily, totaling to almost half a billion pesos to date.

Katigbak told the senators, "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.”

Hours after heeding the National Telecommunications Commission's (NTC)  cease and desist order, ABS-CBN management announced the company would shoulder the wages of their employees for about three months.

Katigbak added, “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.

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

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The network has been losing about 30 to 35 million pesos daily since the NTC closure order.

In its urgent petition for certiorari and prohibition at the Supreme Court, company lawyers said that if this "severe financial hemorrhage" continues, the network is not only considering retrenchment, but is also planning to reduce salaries and benefits, as well as cutting down on costs and expenses.

Katigbak also said in the hearing that ABS-CBN gives its workers “pay and benefits that are above what the government has mandated and above what the industry is paying.

"We commit that we will continue doing whatever we can to take care of employees to continuously better their compensation as the business improves.

"It’s just very difficult for us to have that discussion today… given the fact that we’re facing two very significant business challenges.

“As soon as we get back on air and as soon as business normalizes, it would be easier for us to have those discussions at that point in time.”

Meanwhile, ABS-CBN Corporation will remain off-air, following the decision of the High Court on Tuesday not to issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the NTC order.

Instead, the 14 sitting justices voted unanimously for NTC to comment on the network's TRO plea.

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The  court gave NTC 10 days to comment and another 5 days for ABS-CBN to reply.

In its ruling, the High Court also gave the Senate and the House of Representatives 10 days to file their comments.