Regional journalists sacked without warning across the Philippines

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in strongly criticizing the move by local television network GMA-7 to sack hundreds of regional journalists.

On Friday, April 24, staff including reporters, cameramen and those involved in production, learnt of their redundancies in one-on-one interviews with GMA-7 management. Staff members were told their employment would cease that day. In all, over 100 employees were made redundant through the closure of regional offices in Cagayan de Oro City, Bacolod City, Naga City and Ilocos.

GMA-7 made its decision without consultation or prior warning to regional bureaus and staff – a move which violates Philippines labor laws. According to Article 283 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, a written notice must be given to staff and the Ministry of Labor and Employment at least one month before the intended date of cessation of operation.

According to GMA-7 management, the mass redundancy was necessary because of financial loses by the network. However in 2014, GMA-7 netted a profit of PHP1.01 billion (USD 22,829,504).

Secretary general of NUJP, Rupert Mangilit, said: “We stand with our colleagues who lost their jobs. What happened to them can happen to any media worker in the country, many of whom, despite our noble profession, continue to be treated as dispensable pawns.”

The IFJ said: “The manner in which 100 media workers lost their jobs with GMA-7 shows a complete disregard of the work and skill that these people brought to the station and the media landscape in the Philippines – not to mention the fact that it violates the country’s labor laws.

“This is clearly an economic knee-jerk reaction that will have a profound impact on media reporting.”

The IFJ and NUJP call on GMA-7 Management to reconsider its position that affects hundreds of media workers, and call on the Philippine government to investigate the manner in which the redundancies were handled, and if the action is allowable under Philippine law.