Estrada bats for settlement of backpay for IBC-13 employees

Senator Jinggoy Estrada is pressing the Governance Commission for Government-Owned or Controlled Corporations (GCG) to settle the unpaid back wages and benefits of employees of state-owned People’s Television Network and IBC-13.

Estrada made the appeal after finding out during Tuesday’s organization meeting of the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media that while Congress had allocated a budget for the payment of the unsettled dues, the GCG supposedly disallowed the use of the funds.

“Dahil sa katagalan ng pagkaantala, may iba na nakamatayan na ang pagkubra ng kanilang (Because of the long delay, some beneficiaries already died prior to getting their) back pay, unpaid overtime pay at retirement benefits,” Estrada, chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources, said.

The lawmaker also found that the unsettled overtime and back pay of the employees of the two networks cover the period 2013 to 2015.

The agency allegedly stopped paying the estimated P400 million IBC-13 overdue compensations, including retirement benefits, in 2009. To settle the issue, the television network supposedly paid some of its employees on an installment basis of P10,000 monthly and 20 percent of their benefits. However, it stopped in 2014 after the company ran out of funds.

While the issue is now being addressed by the employees’ union, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said any proposed solution, including the reorganization plan of the government-owned TV station, requires the approval of the GCG.

Nevertheless, Angeles assured the Senate that the bulk of the amount Congress appropriated for the two broadcast stations remains with the Office of the Press Secretary. –Manila Bulletin/ Joseph Pedrajas