THE National Union of Journalists of the Philippines is deeply appalled by the callous way GMA-7 is retrenching hundreds of its regional employees in the guise of the network’s “strategic streamlining” geared toward “increasing ratings and revenues.”
While GMA-7 said it is not closing down any regional station, all the other offices other than in Cebu, Iloilo, Davao and Dagupan will be converted into satellite selling stations. This play on words belies the grim reality that almost all employees in regional news desks of the network will lose their jobs.
For a network that prides itself as “Kapuso,” the GMA-7 management heartlessly laid off hundreds of employees without sufficient warning.
In one swoop last Friday and Saturday, the management put in peril the future of the families of hundreds of its employees and talents many of whom have spent many years of their lives dedicated to the company and the public that they serve.
Let us make no mistake. GMA-7 is not on the brink of bankruptcy with no recourse but to let go of its employees to stay afloat.
GMA-7 is not in the red. It is not bleeding. It reported a net income of P1.01 billion in 2014 and at least a billion pesos yearly in 2012 and 2013. Based on a compensation filing made by the network, its top five executives received a total of P141.716 million last year. The hundreds of regional employees who will lose their jobs, unfortunately, do not enjoy the same.
Clearly, hundreds of jobs and lives have been put in the altar of sacrifice for more profits for its owners and investors at the expense of loyal and dedicated employees and talents.
We stand with our colleagues who lost their jobs. What happened to them can happen to any media worker in the country, many of whom, despite our noble profession, continue to be treated as dispensable pawns.
We call on our colleagues to close ranks and defend our rights and welfare and defend the dignity of journalists and the press.
The network’s management has denied that the retrenchments are connected to the acquisition of shares of Mr. Ramon Ang, top honcho of San Miguel Corp., who has acquired a 30-percent stake of GMA-7.
But is this really so?
We call on Mr. Ang to look closer on the situation. Mr. Ang has always prided himself as putting a premium on the welfare of his employees. More importantly, he has always been vocal about supporting a vibrant and democratic press.
Mr. Ang should give this partnership with GMA-7 a second hard look: would he really want to team up with a company that does not think twice of letting its people go for the sake of revenues alone?
Rupert Francis Mangilit