The head of PLDT Inc. said there would be no further job cuts at TV5, its television unit that has struggled to post a profit, after reports surfaced that about 100 employees were axed on Friday.
PLDT chair and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan confirmed on Monday the latest wave of layoffs, characterizing the event as “painful” and necessary.
“We are closely monitoring the situation, but that is the last of the cost-cutting situation,” Pangilinan told reporters on Monday.
“It had to be done. The choice will be you shut down the station or keep it alive,” he added. “We want to save the many and I know the few had got to be sacrificed.”
Those who lost their jobs included reporters, camera crew and production personnel.
TV5, a third competitor to broadcast giants ABS-CBN Corp. and GMA Network Inc., has drawn criticism for the abrupt nature of the job cuts on Friday, with employees given no time to make preparations for unemployment.
Media Newser Philippines, a website that reports on developments on the television sector, said some employees were informed they were part of the layoffs via text messages from management.
“It’s always a painful experience,” Pangilinan said. “There will always be comments about how it was executed, the terms under which the separation is being offered.”
Pangilinan said TV5, held by PLDT’s media investment arm, Mediaquest Holdings, still employed about 600 workers after Friday’s layoffs, the latest reported since 2015.
TV5 is now led by former basketball coach Vicente “Chot” Reyes, who Pangilinan said was doing a “good job” in reducing expenses. He said losses would “decline quite dramatically” in 2017 following the layoffs.
Pangilinan said TV5 was targeting to be “debt free” by 2019, about a decade since Mediaquest invested in the company. He gave no further financial details on TV5.
TV5 is facing the same digital pivot as PLDT, as consumers move toward more internet-related services.
“I think the viewing habits for video are slowly changing. So we want to move in that direction rather than stay with legacy, which is not competitive against ABS and GMA,” Pangilinan said.
The PLDT Group’s other media investments involved controlling ownership in newspapers BusinessWorld and Philippine Star. The group also owns a minority stake in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
PLDT is seeking to widen its media holdings, a business Pangilinan said had a natural fit with its telecommunications delivery platforms. The most high profile was its unsuccessful bid to acquire GMA. Pangilinan said there were no new talks with the owners of the television network. JE
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