By Lilybeth G. Ison
In view of the reported retrenchment of some 200 employees of the heavily-indebted Radio Philippines Network (RPN)-9 beginning November 15, Malacanang on Tuesday assured that all their rights under the Labor Code are protected.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr., in a press briefing, said that in view of the declaration of the Governance Commission for Government Corporations (GCG) that RPN-9 is no longer a government corporation, “the PCOO continues to supervise the operations and management of RPN and, as we have declared in all of our appearances and statements before both Houses of Congress, government is committed to protect the rights of the employees of RPN.”
Coloma explained that government equity to the sequestered RPN-9 is just 20.8 percent and 66 percent or two-thirds of its equity — 34 percent from Solar Entertainment Group; 32 percent from Far East Managers and Investors Incorporated (FEMII) owned by Roberto S. Benedicto Group; and 14 percent from individual private stockholders — is already owned by private corporations.
As such, he said the government’s participation in the management of RPN has been limited to the participation of the two government-nominated directors — former Press Undersecretary Lourdes “Deedee” Siytangco and Antonio “Tonipet” Albano, who served as president of RPN until he resigned effective August 31, “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.”
Coloma, however, stressed that the retrenchment can only be done “on the basis of lawful or authorized causes — that is what the Labor Code says. And, according to RPN management, the cause that they are invoking for retrenchment is continuing financial losses.”
“Ang tinitiyak lang po namin sa inyo at sa mga empleyado (ng RPN) ay ‘yung pagsunod o pagtalima sa probisyon ng Labor Code. Malinaw naman po ang definition doon. Ang sinasabi ko po dito, kung ano mang hugis o anyo ng kanilang retrenchment program, that will have to be fully compliant with the provisions of the Labor Code and that is what we are committed to uphold,” he said.
Meanwhile, Coloma said they have prepared an action plan on the privatization of RPN-9 and IBC-13 and are awaiting notice from the Economic Development Cluster on when to present it.
He said the Cabinet cluster has also approved in principle that the privatization of these two sequestered television networks will proceed.