About 20 members of the GMA Bacolod news and administrative staff were taken by surprise late Friday when they were informed by network officials from Manila that they would be out of jobs the next day.
They had just delivered the afternoon broadcast of “Isyu Subong Negrense” and did not realize that it would be their last.
"We thought they had good news to tell us about our contracts. We were surprised, we had no prior warning,” a GMA Bacolod employee, who asked not to be identified, said.
Staff of several other GMA stations around the country were also informed Friday that they would be out of jobs as their contracts would not be renewed. The total number of employees affected was placed at 80.
GMA Network, in a statement it issued, 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 the network is not closing down any regional station. Pending completion of the study and recommendation of the Regional TV Review Committee, all the existing regional stations other than Cebu, Iloilo, Davao and Dagupan will be continued as satellite selling stations, the statement said.
Though some regional programs in the morning and afternoon were cancelled, the afternoon news programs of Cebu, Iloilo, Davao and Dagupan remain and will be further strengthened, it said.
All affected personnel will be offered severance packages, the statement said.
This undertaking is not connected with the impending talks with business tycoon Ramon Ang, it added.
A GMA Bacolod employee said they had been working based on short term contracts that sometimes would be for five months, one month or three months, and would just be renewed. They had no SSS and PhilHealth benefits, too, he said.
He also said its appears that with the end of the contracts of the news and admin staff, the Bacolod station will end up as just a relay station.
Jojo Acquio of the GMA corporate Communications office, said they are not closing down their Bacolod station, they are just streamlining operations.
He said he did not have complete details of the number of Bacolod employees affected.
Gerthrode Mabilog, program manager of GMA Western Visayas, said the contracts of the nine members of the Bacolod news team were not renewed because they were terminating their local news program but a formal statement explaining the move would be issued by management.*CPG
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