GMA-7 lays off workers in regional stations
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Contracts of workers in broadcasting giant GMA-7's regional stations have been terminated as part of the network's streamlining efforts, according to various reports starting Saturday, April 25.
Cebu Daily News said the layoffs are in GMA-7 stations in Cebu, Bacolod, Davao, Naga, Cagayan de Oro, and Ilocos, while Inquirer Visayas said confirmed terminations were only in Cebu, Iloilo and Bacolod.
MindaNews reported that GMA-7 closed its offices in Cagayan de Oro City, Bacolod City, Naga City and Ilocos.
Inquirer Visayas, however, said that GMA Network Inc Vice President for Corporate Communication Angela Javier Cruz clarified that these stations are not closing down.
Based on interviews with retrenched employees, The Freeman also reported that "reporters, cameramen and other staff" were dismissed for "redundancy."
Cebu Daily News pegged the number of affected workers at 200.
In a statement sent to Rappler, the network said: "GMA Network is in the process of undertaking a strategic streamlining of programs and manpower in its provincial stations to ensure business competitiveness. This has resulted in reduction of manpower and targets more efficient operations."
GMA added: "Severance packages are offered by GMA to all affected personnel. GMA Network greatly appreciates the contributions rendered by our Kapuso in the regions and we wish them all the best as they seek new opportunities outside the Network."
Reports from various provinces
On Friday, April 24, a representative from GMA-7 in Manila came to Bacolod to inform the regional office's staff that their last day of work was also on that day. At least 20 employees were laid off.
The only local show "Isyu Subong Negrense" also went off air.
The GMA Bacolod office will still operate as a relay of the local channel but there will be no employees, only engineers, working.
GMA-7 Cagayan de Oro, on the other hand, had its last local broadcast on Friday. Staff members said they will have a final meeting on Wednesday, April 29.
Mike Tolang, a veteran cameraman, said employees like him were left in the dark with no idea of what hit them and what awaits them. The only instruction was that they are not to report to the news desk until Wednesday, he added.
There are at least 40 employees in GMA-7 Northern Mindanao.
In the cities of Legazpi and Naga in Bicol, reports have surfaced some time last February about the closing down of the network's offices there.
In Cebu, the retrenched employees have turned to social media such as social networking site Facebook to express their dismay. Journalists in Cebu were urged to turn their profile pictures to plain black.
On the other hand, hosts, production staff and talents of GMA-7 Davao's local morning show "Una Ka Bai" are still silent about the reported layoffs but posts on social networking sites of some of the hosts hint at job losses.
Former Davao City mayor and "Una Ka Bai" host Sara Duterte posted on her Instagram account a photo of her alarm clock in her phone and said: "Goodbye alarm. I will miss you. This is the only job that left a mark in my life." – With reports from Bobby Lagsa in Cagayan de Oro, Karlos Manlupig in Davao, Rhaydz Barcia in Legazpi, Dale Israel in Cebu, and Marchel Espina in Bacolod/Rappler.com