RMN-Davao workers stage protest action vs. management

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/21 September)—Members of the newly organized workers’ union at the Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) in Davao City have decided to bring to the streets their complaints against the management of the radio network after they were reportedly barred from
discussing these issues on air.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)-Davao Chapter supported the move of the RMN Davao Employees Union (RDEU) by
calling on all Davao journalists to join the noontime march today from the radio station to Rizal Park.

“The situation of media colleagues at RMN-DXDC Davao is getting worse. After the sacking of key media personnel, the owner of the station
issued a gag order on media workers,” NUJP- Davao said.

NUJP-Davao urged media colleagues to join the solidarity march and express their outrage and indignation against what it called an attack
on media freedom.

“We take September 21 as an auspicious date. It is a reminder that Martial Law, which repressed media rights, did not bode well for the
people,” said NUJP Davao, referring to the 38th year of the Martial  Law declaration.

The group said it received reports that the management has detailed intelligence personnel from Camp Crame to secure the radio station.

Only 10 days after RMN fired RMN-DXDC Davao station manager Dodong Solis, two more RMN personnel were fired by the radio station
Thursday, September 16.

Elgin Damasco, RMN news director, who still covered the President’s visit to the Hedcor plant in Sibulan, Davao del Sur on Wednesday,
arrived at the radio station only to be told that he just lost his job.

Jessie Casalda, RMN-Davao program director, who took over Solis job as anchorman of the primetime commentary program, “Straight to the
Point,” was also fired.

Casalda said company owner Carlos “Charlie” Canoy, the network’s vice president for AM operations, dismissed them for defying orders “not to
air news and commentaries regarding the media workers’ problems at RMN-Davao.”

Solis was fired on September 6, a month after he was suspended from his job as station manager and anchorman of the 6 o’clock primetime
commentary program.

Aside from saying that Solis defied company orders, Canoy also questioned an advertising contract with Nature’s Med, a food supplement firm that Solis founded with company employees in 2007 to absorb workers laid off by the station.

Canoy also said Solis will “not get a single centavo” from his 12 years of service because he was dismissed “with cause.”

Casalda, who also sits as chair of NUJP-Davao, said the recent dismissal of RMN-Davao workers mirrors the situation of journalists, who are not only getting killed but are also falling victims to other forms of harassment.

“Siguro, swerte lang ko, kay kini lang ang nahitabo nako, dili sama sa uban nga gipangpatay (Maybe, I’m just lucky because only this happened
to me, unlike others who were killed,” said Solis, who had kept RMN-Davao at the top of ratings in the last 12 years.

Following the dismissal of Solis and his two colleagues, RMN workers have been subjected to more pressure by management and are being
watched in their workplace, the NUJP alleged.

The group said it views with serious concern the dismissal of the RMN broadcasters, describing it as a “worrisome” trend which only reflects
the “state of press freedom in the country.”

“We learned that this condition is also being experienced by workers in other stations like Bombo radio,” Rey Fabe, chair of the newly formed union said, referring to RMN’s competitor.

After Solis was suspended in August, anchormen Dennis Lazo and Arthur Borneo of Bombo-Davao were fired. (Germelina Lacorte/MindaNews)