RPN cuts 200 jobs in whole network

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012


MANILA—The government assured Tuesday that employees of Radio Philippines Network Inc. (RPN) 9, who will be affected by the reported retrenchment, will be getting appropriate compensation.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma, who supervises government media entities, said his office will monitor the developments in RPN as the network decided to lay off at least 200 workers.

"We have been informed by RPN management that they have issued letters or notices of retrenchment to some 200 employees of the network," Coloma said. "We continue to monitor the developments in RPN to ensure that all the rights of the employees under the Labor Code are adequately protected."

In Cebu, the layoff affected four employees. They are announcer Emy Bustillo, John Tam Ybanez and Elvie Chavez and driver Adam Panaldo.

Cebu

Initially, 13 employees of RPN 9 and dyKC radio were going to be displaced and only officer-in-charge station manager Fides Palicte was going to be retained.

But Bustillo said six radio and TV technicians—Ronaldo Batoctoy, Anaclito Maratas, Weng Almerida, Diosdado Delgado, Harry Cisneros and Jessie Aure—were retained because they are involved in programs with valid contracts.

Coloma said that according to the present collective bargaining agreement between RPN management and employees, 45 days were given to implement the retrenchment notice, which has been already sent out.

The Palace official clarified that RPN is no longer a government corporation since 66 percent of two-thirds of the equity is owned by private corporations such as Far East Managers and Investors Inc. (FEMII) with 34 percent equity and Solar Entertainment Group with 32 percent. The government has 20.8 percent equity while the remaining 14 percent were owned by individual private stockholders.

Supervision

FEMII is an investment group associated with the late Ambassador Roberto Benedicto, said Coloma.

Although majority of the shares are owned by private companies, Coloma said the PCOO continues to supervise the operations and management of RPN.

He said the participation of the government in the management of RPN is limited to only two board directors namely, Lourdes "Deedee" Sytangco and Antonio "Tonipet" Albano, who served as president of RPN until he resigned effective Aug. 31.

“So our participation in the management of RPN has been limited to the participation of the two government-nominated directors and our constant and periodic monitoring by way of requiring management reports and reports of all significant actions taken including this decision to implement a retrenchment,” he said.

Contracts

Coloma noted that the programming and operations of the network will continue,
particularly the block time arrangement with Solar.

He said the Cabinet economic development cluster has approved in principle the privatization of RPN and IBC-13.

“This will have to be presided over by the privatization council and they will specify the rules for open and competitive bidding for privatization,” he added.

He said some of the proceeds of the privatization will be used for the revitalization of People's Television Network.

Coloma confirmed that San Miguel Corp. is considering stakes in RPN and IBC-13 based on what he read in the newspapers, but he said the giant conglomerate has yet to communicate to him officially or unofficially.

Unexpected

Bustillo said that the termination of their services came “like a thief in the night.”

The affected employees were surprised when they reported for work last Monday that the station’s security guards have been changed and they were barred from entering RPN 9’s premises in Maguikay, Mandaue City.

Bustillo also said they were only allowed to read their termination papers but were not given copies.

RPN 9, which has eight television stations and 14 radio stations nationwide, was sequestered by the administration of then President Corazon Aquino from a crony of former President Marcos.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 03, 2012.

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