#ChalkAsks: How Young People Feel About Being Retrenched From ABS-CBN
Karen Jane Ng
July 10th - it was then when 70 members of the House of Representative utterly denied ABS-CBN a renewal of franchise causing the retrenchment of the network's workers. Among them are young individuals who are either just starting out in their careers or are still figuring out the path that they want to pursue. Some are even breadwinners at an early age, while some thought that they are finally living their dreams.
As the Kapamilya channel resorts to this move, how is the imminent unemployment affecting the youth now? Some shared their thoughts below:
"Fear and courage. These two words are in my mind whenever I think about the impending retrenchment. Fear because our future lies uncertain with the possibility of losing your job amid the pandemic, being left with no other choice but to have the courage to move forward. With all the things that are happening in our country right now, I think it is our moral obligation as young individuals to speak up and fight injustices however we can. If not, no one else will." -Julieanne, 23
"It hurt a lot when ABS went off the air. We were just about to go on air again after just a month of quarantine—but it didn't push through because we weren't on free TV anymore. When we learned we had to stop production, I kept on thinking about how a lot of my colleagues would weather through this, especially the breadwinners. When they ultimately denied the renewal a few weeks ago, I was on the streets taking it all in. It hurt but I couldn't cry, because I felt frustrated, angry and anxious altogether. Honestly, until now it still hasn't sinked in yet, but the uncertainty that comes with not having a stable job during the pandemic makes it more unnerving." -Marla, 23
"Scared? Because to be honest, I'm still at the point of discovering myself and what I really want to do and want to be. But when we're told that we'll soon stop producing contents and yes, losing our jobs, that's when I realized I actually love what I'm doing in ABS. So it scares me to think if I'll be able to find another one just like it. There are so many opportunities out there, but I'm not sure if it's for me. It's like I have no choice but to start all over again." -K, 25
"Siyempre I was sad and scared. Just the thought of being unemployed during a pandemic makes me anxious. I can't even watch the hearings because I feel stressed whenever I hear news about ABS-CBN's franchise. Mas masakit pa rin siyempre na marinig mo yung news na mawawalan ka ng work. Short man yung 4 years pero naging second home ko na ang ABS and I really love what I do. Pero as a young employee, mas nasasaktan ako para sa mga employees na matagal na nagwowork sa ABS. Mga 10-20 years na ganun. The young ones are techy na eh. Mahirap man pero mas kaya natin magsurvive kasi kaya pa natin mag-adapt. Pero sila? Paano sila? Mas mahihirapan sila lalo na't everything's digital." -Mikka, 24
"It hasn't been long since I started working at ABS-CBN as a researcher at Umagang Kay Ganda. I started 25th of February this year and I did plan on staying here for a really long time. I even imagined myself getting used to being a morning person because I am a night owl back in college as well as my first works, I always grab those scheds that are in favor of my body working at night. In the course of 5 months, a lot has happened already. The first 2 months were good as it still keeps my mind and body working and my passion or media has never been this fiery before. UKG really changed my perspective on how I view things on life. Then recently, as the hearing goes regarding the franchise renewal and as the news drop that the congress has killed the franchise, it affected not just me but my whole department. There are people who are having problems looking for a new job in the middle of this pandemic like me. It is heartbreaking to look for another job that you thought you'll grow old in. My brother and I were planning on moving houses this year for our convenience. Now, that needs to wait because I, myself, don't know if I will be able to find a job quickly to help him for the rent and other expenses." -Dus, 22
"Matapos ang kolehiyo, pumasok ako sa ABS-CBN dala ang lakas ng loob at pangarap na balang araw magiging manunulat at direktor ako. Oo, hindi kataasan ang sweldo, pero susugal ako kasi hindi naman talaga 'to trabaho lang e, pangarap 'to. Nung pumasok yung virus sa bansa, takot ako, nangamba ako pero yung alaga ng kumpanya saming mga empleyado, dun ako naging sigurado. Tuloy-tuloy ang pagbibigay ng sweldo kahit paminsan ay hindi ko nagagampanan ng buo ang pagiging empleyado dahil sa kakulangan ng gamit.
"Hindi na ulit ako nangamba dahil alam ko dito, alaga ako. Nung nag-umpisang mawala sa ere ang ABS-CBN hanggang sa hindi na tuluyang na-irenew ang franchise, natakot ako ulit. Sobra-sobrang lungkot at pangamba sa sunod-sunod na masasamang balita “kasama ba tayo,” “wala na rin ba tayong trabaho,” ang ilan sa mga katagang paulit-ulit mong mababasa sa mga group chat at social media. Hanggang natanggap ako ng tawag, kasama pala ako. Kasama din pala ang channel namin. Doon wala akong nasabi, puno ng pangamba at galit. Hindi lang trabaho ang ninakaw sa akin, pati ang pangarap ng isang noo’y estudyanteng nagnanais maging manunulat at direktor." -Tricia, 23
"Call center ako noon. Bet ko na nga ipush talaga doon kasi malaki naman sweldo ko and wala naman akong sariling pamilya goods na ako sa trabaho ko nun. Pero kapag kinatok ka talaga ng opportunity to reach your dreams magririsk pala talaga. Nagspark ulit yung interest ko sa industry dahil sa ABS-CBN. They gave me challenge. Pero now na wala na parang lost ulit. Sobrang nakakatakot para bang susubok na naman ako sa bagay na hindi na naman ako sure. OA man pakinggan pero ang sure lang sakin now is working with this family. Nakakalungkot parang ang vulnerable ko ngayon." -Decy, 21
"Nakalulungkot talaga ang pangyayari dahil ako ay isang bagong empleyado pa lamang at kumukha pa lang ako ng bagong kaalaman sa aking industriya na pinasok at inabutan yung kalahati ng aking trabaho dahil sa pandemyang ito. Hindi ko man lang nakasama at nakatrabaho nang matagal ang aking mga kapwa empleyado. Tapos magkakaroon pa nang pagbabawas sa mga empleyado't sinabayan na rin nang hindi pagpasa sa kongreso ng prangkisa ng ABS-CBN. Sa ngayon masakit at hindi ko alam kung anung pinakadahilan sa pagbabawasan kung dahil ba sa pandemya o sa pagpapasara ng kumpamnya.
Ngayon ay mawawalan ako nang trabaho kung kailan mahirap maghanap ng pagtatrabahuhan. Ang pagbabawas sa mga empleyado ay okay lang basta't ito ay dumaan sa legal na proseso at may kaukulang pagbibigay sa mga kanilang empleyado ng kanilang pangangailangan, pero ang bumabagabag sa akin ay paano na kaya yung mga matagal nang nagtatrabaho sa industriya at matatanggal sa trabaho may tatanggap pa kaya sa kanila? Para sa gobyerno lalo na sa kongreso sana naging mas makatao kayo ngayong panahon na ito at huwag puro personal na pangangailangan ang inuuna. Para sa mga kapwa ko na natanggal sa trabaho dahil sa pandemya o pagsasara ng kumpanya ay alamin natin ang ating karapatan patungkol sa pagbabawas ng tao sa trabaho." -R, 21
"Honestly, I don't feel bad as I should about the retrenchment. we all know naman na the bosses gave their all and did the their best to keep us in sail pero wala talaga—iba na kapag gobyerno na mismo ang kalaban. What makes me sad (and sometimes even mad) is the thought na may mga employees na mahihirapan nang mag-apply sa panahon ngayon. I'd like to think na at my age, ang ganda na nung background ko in what I do and given na we're still young, for sure madami pang opportunities out there. Pero paano naman yung mga colleagues natin na mahihirapan na mag-keep up sa demands and trends sa industry? Let’s say our colleagues na nasa 40s/early 50s na. Hindi naman na sila para mag-apply and kung mag-apply man sila, grabe na yung competition ngayon kasi puro young professionals na yung kalaban nila." -Iana, 24
Beyond question, not only did the ABS-CBN shutdown threatens press freedom but also people's means of living and these young ones' chance to make their dreams come true. But, we hope, as we continue to stand behind our Kapamilyas, we still won't hesitate to move toward the future, if the opportunity arises.