Gov't committed to protect rights of RPN employees to be affected by retrenchment program next month

October 2, 2012 9:20 pm 

MANILA, Oct. 2 — Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio “Sonny” B. Coloma Jr. assured that the government is committed to uphold and protect the rights of some 200 employees of Radio Philippines Network (RPN) following the implementation of a retrenchment program next month.

In a press conference in Malacanang, Tuesday, Coloma said that even if the government’s involvement in running the network would be limited to the functions of two government-nominated directors, the PCOO would continue to monitor the developments to ensure the strict observance of the provisions of the Labor Code.

“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. We continue to monitor the developments in RPN to ensure that all the rights of the employees under the labor code are adequately protected. Ang tinitiyak namin ay iyong pagsunod o pagtalima sa probisyon ng Labor Code… malinaw naman po ang definition doon, ang sinasabi ko po dito kung anumang 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 have committed to uphold,” Coloma said.

“Our participation in the management of RPN has been limited to the participation of the two government-nominated directors 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… iyon po ang extent ng government participation in the management of RPN,” he added.

The two government-nominated directors are former Press Undersecretary Lourdes ‘Deedee’ Siytangco and Antonio ‘Tonipet’ Albano, who served as president of RPN until he resigned effective Aug. 31. A third seat remains vacant, according to Coloma.

When asked on updates concerning the privatization of the two government-sequestered television networks RPN and Intercontinental Broadcasting Corp. (IBC), Coloma said that the proceeds from the two networks will be allocated to the revitalization of the government-owned Peoples Television Network (PTV).

“On February 29, 2012 the Economic Development Cluster of the Cabinet approved the revitalization of PTV consisting of fresh capital infusion in the amount of P5 billion and amendments to the law allowing the network to collect commercial revenues. The policy adopted by the Economic Development Cluster is that approximately half of the fresh capital of five billion will be taken from the proceeds of the privatization of both RPN and IBC and the other half will be accounted for by spectrum management fees collected by the National Telecommunications Commission from broadcasting and telecommunications companies,” Coloma said.

RPN is one of the media organizations under the supervision of the PCOO in Executive Order No. 4. In July of 2010 the Supreme Court ruled with finality that 32 per cent of RPN is owned by Far East Managers and Investors Inc. or FEMI, an investment group associated with the late Ambassador Roberto S. Benedicto.

In October 2011, the new composition of the RPN Board reflected the equity structure as follows: 34 percent Solar Entertainment Group; 32 percent FEMI or Roberto S. Benedicto Group; 20.8 percent Government of the Republic of the Philippines and 14 percent individual private stockholders.

Based on the said structure, the Governance Commission for Government Corporations (GCG) declared that RPN is no longer a government corporation.

On Monday, RPN acting president Robert Rivera announced that it will cut at least 200 jobs with the closure of its central office in Quezon City by November of this year.

The network said the retrenchment program would provide separation packages to a certain portion of the workforce and will take effect on Nov. 15.

It added that the move would ease and provide relief to employees as well as resolve the issues of the network, including its P3-billion outstanding debt. (PNA)

RMA/PCOO/SSC

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