Stepping out

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    ‘The KBP should do more to genuinely exhibit that it is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the network, especially during another tragic episode in its history.’

    MORE than 11,000 employees of ABS-CBN or about 33,000, counting their families at an average of three members each, have been thrown out in the streets with Congress’ refusal to grant the media giant a new franchise. The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas should do more to genuinely exhibit that it is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the network, especially during another tragic episode in its history. The self-regulatory body of most of the country’s television and radio stations is comprised of business owners and top managers. Their professional life has mostly been guided by their individual’s companies’ balance sheets and profit margins tirelessly protected by their expertise, superior skills, keen foresight and hard work. Today, they may be ready to step out to help thwart the doom and hopelessness facing the families of the displaced employees. No doubt, the financial resources of the KBP commercial stations has taken a hit during this pandemic and hinders any possible acts of kindness and compassion to help ease the acute financial want of our media colleagues.

    But there is always something special that awaits the kind and generous, especially those who do not desire anything in return, that cannot be explained by the standards of this passing world. Humane gestures do come around in better and brighter ways for our families and careers, but in some cases, not immediately. For instance, KBP leaders may consider opening up contractual options especially at undermanned radio and TV stations.

    Employees are welcomed to share their shifts voluntarily with minimal salary cutbacks to be replaced later on. But it must be the company that takes on the additional operational costs. “We have to be empty to be full again.” Indeed, many of the least of our brethren in their hapless plight now beckon. The late evangelist and Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias would remind everyone that “we choose our careers, but God chooses our calling.” In this life our skills, competences, strengths and our souls should be directed towards the things that outlive us.

    On a personal note, I could not restrain a heavy feeling over the fate of the network employees. It all seems to be a revisit of what transpired at the old ABS-CBN when the Kanlaon Broadcasting System (KBS) owned by former Ambassador Roberto Benedicto forcibly took over the huge facility on the former Bohol Avenue in QC. One afternoon in the summer of 1973, KBS officers and employees, escorted by a truckload of Metrocom soldiers, swooped down on the broadcast center, seizing office spaces and equipment while ABS-CBN employees watched helplessly. They later found themselves jobless. I joined KBS as a radio drama talent and a disc jockey of the FM radio station managed by a new company under KBS. Even as News and Public Affairs manager of Channel 9, it did not occur to me that I had become a part of the invading horde then that stole the job of others. We relished our gainful employment, would party often and the world seemed okay.

    The plight of the Lopez network employees had become distant and obscured by the popular and profitable entertainment and news and public affairs programs on Channels 2, 9 and 13. KBS management would eventually allow some of them to resume work in engineering, production and marketing.