GMA News TV goes off air amid coronavirus outbreak in PH
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – GMA News TV, the network’s free-to-air news and public affairs channel, will temporarily stop broadcasting starting Thursday, March 19, amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in the Philippines.
GMA News anchor Jessica Soho made the announcement during the Wednesday, March 18, edition of 24 Oras.
"Mahalagang anunsiyo po: Sa gitna ng enhanced community quarantine at ng state of calamity sa ating bansa, simula po bukas, hindi po muna sasahimpapawid ang GMA News TV o ang GNTV. Manatili pong nakatutok dito sa GMA para sa news updates," Soho said.
(An important announcement: Amid the enhanced community quarantine [in Luzon] and the state of calamity in the Philippines, starting tomorrow, GMA News TV or GNTV will temporarily stop broadcasting. Please continue tuning in to GMA for news updates.)
The short announcement did not mention whether or not GMA News TV employees would be paid while the channel is off air.
On Wednesday, CNN Philippines stopped broadcasting after a coronavirus case was confirmed in the building where the television channel is based, forcing it off the air while the offices are disinfected.
President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Luzon on lockdown until April 12 to prevent further spread of the novel coronavirus, which has infected at least 202 individuals in the Philippines as of Wednesday. The entire country is under a state of calamity.
The global death toll due to the coronavirus, meanwhile, has reached 7,873, with 3,237 of the fatalities in China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau). The number of cases worldwide has risen to 194,000, with more than 80,894 of the infections in China. The virus has spread to at least 150 countries.
No work no pay for talents
On Friday, March 20, network talents received notice from the management that a no-work-no-pay scheme will apply to them.
Before this, the only information they got about their status while the Luzon-wide lockdown is in effect was a press release published on GMA News Online, titled "GMA gives aid to employees during enhanced community quarantine."
The article says: “Talents and project employees will still be able to receive their salaries on March 25 and 30, respectively. In addition, a cash advance will be made available for them for their April 10 and 15 pay-outs."
According to an advisory sent to one group of project employees, the end-of-March salary will be for the work rendered from March 1 to 15.
The cash advance covering the first half of April will be "deduction." They were informed the deduction scheme is still being ironed out.
The cash advance is based on their income bracket:
- Those with salaries P20,000 or below will get P10,000
- Salary of P20,000 to P40,000 – will get P12,500
- Salary of P40,000 to P60,000 – will get P17,500
- Salary of P60,000 to P80,000 – will get P22,500
- Salary of P80,000 to P100,000 – will get P27,500
- Salary of above P100,000 – will get P32,500
“The scheme is really unjust and inhumane…. [It] made us feel like face masks that has to be disposed of because we’re used and infected,” one of the talents said. “We're also told that our output had not been enough for us to be given full cash advance salary.” – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com