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The government is ready to provide appropriate assistance to the employees of broadcast network ABS-CBN who may be affected by the denial of the House of Representatives of its bid for a 25-year franchise, an official said on Tuesday.

“We are ready to extend the necessary assistance to all employees who may be displaced as a result of the congressional action,” Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Undersecretary Ana Dione said in a media statement.

“The verdict may be unfortunate for that would mean imminent job loss for a significant number of employees of one of the largest media enterprises in the country. But the workers are not helpless,” she added.

Dione said if termination, reduction or displacement of workforce becomes unavoidable, “the first thing that ABS-CBN should do is compensate the employees because it is legally bound to pay separation benefits to those who will be retrenched or terminated.”

She added that the agency’s National Capital Region office has been directed to determine exactly the number of ABS-CBN employees, who they are, and their nature of employment.

“So, as early as now, we need to know how many and who among their workers are entitled to those benefits,” Dione said.

She also reminded the network executives on their assertions that the plight and welfare of their thousands of workers was a primary reason why the franchise has to be granted by Congress.

“If they truly care for their workers, then the network is morally bound to give them all pays and emoluments that the law provides. Besides, our labor laws mandate a company that reduces its workforce or has ceased operations to provide its employees with severance pays or similar emoluments,” she said.

On July 10, the House Committee on Legislative Franchises, voting 70-11, junked ABS-CBN’s bid for a new 25-year franchise. (PNA)

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