NUJP calls Kapuso network’s closure of regional stations heartless

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/27 April) — The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines slammed GMA 7 Network for axing the news programs of four of its regional stations and morning shows of their stations in Davao and Cebu cities, calling it a heartless move on the part of the television giant.

NUJP Secretary General Rupert Francis Mangilit said they are “deeply appalled by the callous way” GMA-7 Network retrenched reporters, video cameramen and talents at their regional offices in the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, Naga, Davao and Cebu.

At least a hundred of their employees were affected by the termination order called “Bloody Friday” which the network simultaneously issued to the affected regional stations last Friday.

“For a network that prides itself as ‘Kapuso’, the GMA 7 management heartlessly laid off hundreds of employees without sufficient warning,” Mangilit said.

“In one swoop last Friday and Saturday, the management put in peril the future of the families of hundreds of its employees and talents many of whom have spent many years of their lives dedicated to the company and the public that they serve,” he continued.

In an effort to dodge a backlash from its decision to terminate its employees, GMA 7 Network issued a statement last Sunday saying it was not closing its regional TV stations.

It said all affected regional stations will continue as “satellite selling stations” pending the completion of the study and recommendation of the Regional TV Review Committee.

But their morning shows like “Una ta Bai” and “Buena Mano Balita” produced by its regional stations in Cebu and Davao cities were axed, the network statement said.

“The strategic streamlining being undertaken by the Network is geared towards increasing ratings and revenues of all of its regional stations from more efficient operations,” it said.

GMA 7 also belied reports that the retrenchment has something to do with its business deal with businessman Ramon Ang of San Miguel Corp. who was reportedly keen on buying 30 percent of the network stocks.

Mangilit said GMA 7 Network played on words when it insisted that it will be converting the affected regional stations into “satellite selling stations.”

“This play on words belies the grim reality that almost all employees in regional news desks of the network will lose their jobs,” he said.

Mangilit said GMA 7 is not losing as it claimed to be, as it reported a net income of P1.01 billion in 2014 and at least a billion pesos yearly in 2012 and 2013.

He said  based on a compensation filing made by the network at the Securities and Exchange Commission, its top five executives received a total of P141.716 million last year.

“The hundreds of regional employees who will lose their jobs, unfortunately, do not enjoy the same. Clearly, hundreds of jobs and lives have been put in the altar of sacrifice for more profits for its owners and investors at the expense of loyal and dedicated employees and talents,” he said.

MindaNews learned that only the sales group will remain with GMA’s Cagayan de Oro station.

Cagayan de Oro’s entire editorial staff including 16 talents was fired after the station aired its 24 Oras news show last Friday. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)