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ABS-CBN 'fully compliant' with DOLE directives on alleged violations, says labor exec

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Monday confirmed that ABS-CBN was fully compliant with directives it issued to the network with regards to its alleged violations of labor standards and occupational safety.

During the continuation of the House joint panel hearings on the ABS-CBN franchise issue, Labor Undersecretary Ana Dione said DOLE conducted a routine inspection from July to September 2018 at ABS-CBN where they found violations in the areas of labor standards and occupational safety and health in the company.

"As a matter of procedure, merong mga series of mandatory conferences na conducted for the purpose of the parties submitting proof of compliance or submitting employment records to disprove noted violations and findings during the inspection," she said.

"ABS-CBN has fully complied with all the findings and violations that have been found out during the inspection," she added.

Apart from labor standards and occupational safety and health issues, Dione also presented other labor cases involving ABS-CBN, which include two inter/intra union disputes, five notice of strikes, four preventive mediation cases, and 109 illegal dismissal cases.

Out of the 109 illegal dismissal cases, 108 have already been resolved and one remains pending, she said.

Mark Nepomuceno, former head of the Human Resources department of ABS-CBN, said that when it comes to labor issues, they follow the rule of law and abide by the final decision of the court.

"Like any other organization, we look at the case that's involved and we follow the process of the law. The underlying principle is ABS-CBN will always base on what it believes is right under the law," he said.

"Kapag humantong sa korte, we follow the process of the law. At the end of it, we will abide by the final decision of the courts whatever that decision may be. ABS-CBN will have to stand for what it believes is right but it will always follow the process of the law and the final orders of the court," he added.

The issue of ABS-CBN's alleged violation of labor laws has been raised in the deliberations on whether or not to grant another 25-year franchise to ABS-CBN.

During the hearing, two former employees of ABS-CBN namely Journalie Payonan and Christopher Mendoza gave testimonies on their experience working for the company.

Payonan, who represents cameramen, audiomen, drivers and genset operators who were dismissed by ABS-CBN, said he and his fellow workers were mandated by the company to transfer to its in-house manpower agency named Internal Job Market as talent employees.

"We had no choice at the time except to follow the mandate of our superior because we cannot receive our salaries and benefits unless we abide by the mandate to join IJM as talent employees," he said.

Although they were performing regular job assignments, Payonan said they did not receive the benefits that regular workers do.

For his part, Mendoza, whose group filed a labor case against ABS-CBN said they were threatened to be terminated if they would not drop the case against the company.

He also complained that the benefits they received were not complete, and it was only after they filed a case that they got additional benefits.

Mendoza, however, said his group would not wish for the shutdown of ABS-CBN, but they hope to get justice for their termination back in 2010.

Payonan, meanwhile, said there should be an assurance that ABS-CBN would no longer commit labor violations if ever it is granted another franchise. -- BAP, GMA News