Wednesday, October 13, 2010

TO IJM: Follow Psinakis's example-BOMBARD THE HEADQUARTERS!

TO IJM: Follow Psinakis's example-BOMBARD THE HEADQUARTERS!

by Katleah Iskre Ulrike

"The administrators bragged that they treated each other as a family, yet how come they took out its members away with no benefits?" These are the sentiments spoke by members of the ABS-CBN IJM workers union during their picket last October 12, 2010. This action is in response to the layoffs set by the management, to be led by chairman and CEO Eugenio "Gabby" Lopez III and his contractualization scheme being boasted to the media back then.

Most workers who were deeply affected by the layoffs are also those who had worked for long, specifically 20 years, working under the late Eugenio "Geny" Lopez Jr. and mostly as cameramen, scriptwriters, anything used to be in a staff job. Even reporters like Wheng Hidalgo end up resigned or fired off despite won approval by the Labor department as regular employees. These actions made by the management, or rather Lopez himself manifests the reign of greed when it comes to mass media, from laying off its workers to its coddling with the present administration, including censorship of dissent.

And secondly,
Lopez III's handling is somewhat uses his surname yet the performance seemed to be too little in making ABS-CBN popular, it may accumulated profits-from 1.7 billion in 2009 to 2.27 billion, but why there's a need for a layoff? These workers sacrificed time a lot in order to make ABS-CBN and its programs be accessible to the people, as well as gaining profits yet instead of giving their large chunk to them why layoffs? Contractualizations? Isn't it absurd for a large company having excess money do so? It even shows how Gabby Lopez's acts too contrary to his father, who, with Freddie M. Garcia seriously worked hard for the station!

And speaking of Lopez, it even reminds of the past wherein Don Eugenio Lopez Sr. with his wife Dona Pacita having a party in commemoration of their wedding anniversary during the Marcos regime, spending millions of pesos while the poor remained poorer. And as the dance goes on and on, with visitors coming from affluent families and even with royal blood (like the Bourbons from Spain) shows enough contradiction to realities like rampant poverty during that time. I guess that the legacy of extravagance laid by the Lopezes still do so, although not obviously manifested like Don Ening and Dona Pacita, wearing tuxedoes and gowns on that once grandiose event.

Worse, as aside from layoffs, Gabby Lopez, while speaking of democracy as it coddles with the yellow mafia, attempts to bust out the union! Isn't it contradicting? Union bashing while praising democratic sentiment as ABS-CBN do so? Covering rallies yet not the picketline done by these 99 to 130 and still growing fired workers fighting for jobs and wages, benefits? It really unveils how the Lopezes done such things, not just to the workers but for the masses: remember MERALCO and MAYNILAD who increased rates that affected much the masses who comprised the majority of its consumers, and now the station ABS-CBN who laid off its workers yet accumulated more profits!

For sure these compradore-landlords would counter it simply by their Corporate Social Responsibility actions, that in fact their propaganda like "Ako ang Simula" or "Kapit Bisig para sa Ilog Pasig" and others in order to avert its consumers from worker's sentiment. And speaking of Lopezes as compradore-landlords, they even do the "Kabo" system, a method used during the encomienda period to run business, ensure cheap and docile labor to the detriment and in-advantage of its workers while gaining profits, this action also shows how ABS-CBN applies feudalism, alongside bureaucrat capitalism as its main methods in running the business while the Lopezes as obviously a personification of a landlord, having lands in Iloilo and at the same time a compradore bourgeois!

Last 2002, more than 200 ABS-CBN IJM workers filed for regularization at the National Labor relations Commision of the Labor Department. They even filed a Petition for Certification of Election for union recognition last November 2009 at DOLE-NCR yet being dismissed by Catherin Parado, Med Arbiter last April 2010-only to be ruled in favor of the workers with the efforts such as collective action, claiming that there was an employer-employee relationship and union recognition should be immediately commenced last August 2010. Good to speak, yet the management continues to do union busting for the goddamn sake of accumulating profits. Remember this is not a network war, a rating war or anything war for radio and television prominency, but a class war inside the station itself.

And as a writer, I greatly disappointed that the management had done this, laying off 130 workers who worked 20 years in the station? Who helped reviving ABS-CBN from the ruins of Banahaw Broadcasting Corporation under the Benedictos during the Martial Law era and redeveloped to its old name? I somehow agreed with the old Lopezes' quotations but disagreed with the actions given to those who worked hard for them. "To survive, any business or corporation must be useful to the society it serves." Said Oscar M. Lopez of the Lopez Group, while "Profit alone is not enough reason to go into business. But if we can serve the people, then I think our growth and our successes will follow. If we take care of our costumers, then they will take care of us." Said the beloved Eugenio "Geny" Lopez jr. Or even this, from the same person, true and in a humble way contrary to nowadays: "I am waiting to hear from Pres. Aquino. I want to give her as much flexibility as possible, we are no longer interested in a media empire..."

The 101 workers continue to picket and in protest nowadays and for sure some would do more radical than that, if not literally, ideologically so to speak, bombing the station with popular sentiment like the bombs being exploded by a Lopez relative, Steve Psinakis of the terrorist group LAFM during the Marcos regime, and as the title said, for sure will undergo this kind of action, not the literal TNT or C4 but the idea of action with its effect similar to the explosives being said, towards its fulfillment.