[News] TAG statement on illegal dismissal case article by GMA News Online

TAG statement on illegal dismissal case article by GMA News Online

Micholl Mabinta's last taping day for GMA News TV show
Micholl Mabinta’s last taping day for GMA News TV show “MARS” (April 16, 2015)

The Talents Association of GMA (TAG) intends to appeal the Labor Arbiter decision dismissing the regularization case filed by one of our members against GMA Network.

In an article published Monday, July 13, on the Community Bulletin Board of GMA News Online, Labor Arbiter Remedios Marcos of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) ruled that Micholl Mabinta is not entitled to regularization from the Network.

The article further cites the decision as saying Mabinta “worked with minimal supervision from GMA and if there is any level of control exercised by GMA, it is only to make sure that he does not violate applicable laws and/or delete any inappropriate scenes or language, which was restricted by existing laws to be aired on television.”

Moreover, the article says that “in finding that Mabinta is an independent contractor,” her claims of regularization had no factual and legal basis.

GMA News Online conveniently leaves out that Mabinta is part of the Talents Association of GMA (TAG) whose 107 other members previously won the same regularization case but was handled by a different arbiter.

Last June 22, Labor Arbiter Julio Gayaman declared 107 TAG members as regular employees of the Network. The 107 said talents were part of the first batch that filed the case last June 2014. (READ: [News] GMA talents declared as regular employees by labor arbiter)

Mabinta, on the other hand, is part of the second batch that filed their case March this year.

GMA News Online never published the story of the 107 other members, but it is publishing Mabinta’s case.

TAG has every intention to appeal the case before the Commission level of the NLRC, and reiterate that Mabinta’s employment circumstances are the same as the first 107.

Mabinta was a talent of GMA Network’s Entertainment Department from 2007 to April 2015. She worked as a production assistant and then as a researcher for various shows, starting with the iconic ‘Mel and Joey’ and recently, ‘Mars’ on GMA News TV.

The decision cites the case of Leonardo vs. Court of Appeals decided by the Supreme Court on 15 June 2006 (not 15 June 2007 as reported by GMA News Online), saying there is only an employer-employee relationship “when the person for whom the services are performed reserves the right to control not only the end to be achieved but also the manner and means used to achieve that end.”

As with the 107 TAG members who won their case, Mabinta was also under the supervision of higher staff when performing her work. In her case, she works under the Segment Producer, who, in turn, works under the supervision of the Program Manager or the Network. Her work was constantly monitored by her Managers, and that is their basis for renewing her contract.

Given this circumstance, Mabinta would also pass the control test to establish an employee-employer relationship with the Network.

Contrary to what the the article says, Mabinta did not reject “a new talent agreement after the last one expired.”

Mabinta’s talent agreement expired last December 2014, but she was made to continue her work until April even without a contract, a practice experienced widely by the talents of the Network.

She filed the case March this year, which then became the reason for her dismissal the following month.

Her managers specifically told her that she could no longer continue her work as a result of filing the regularization case against the Network.

She did not sign up for the Project Employment Contract (PEC) because TAG is firm in its stance that we are regular employees of the Network and are entitled to all government-mandated benefits and other benefits such as 13th month pay and holiday pay.

PEC only makes talents employees of the project; it doesn’t afford talents security of tenure and only shoulders part of the cost of benefits.

She did not sign up for PEC because nobody from TAG signed the PEC—but many TAG members remain in the Network to this day.

In fact, the TAG members it dismissed last December 2014 were reinstated last April.

Mabinta’s case is one of the many examples of the Network’s inconsistency in its policies, and an example of the Network’s tendency to single out employees. These are, we believe, forms of harassment against our members.

Ako ang inaasahan ng pamilya ko kaya kailangang kumayod. Everytime na makakaramdam ako ng pagod, sila ang iniisip ko kaya kahit walang tulog, push lang para sa kanila,” Mabinta said.

(I need to work hard because my family relies on me. Every time I feel tired, I always think of them that is why even if I am sleepless, I still work for their sake.)

Mabinta is a breadwinner of her family. She now freelances to compensate for the income she previously earned at GMA. Eight years of service to the Network did not provide her the security that she could have otherwise had if she was a regular employee.

Mula nang ako’y nagtapos, sa kanila na ako nagserbisyo. From my OJT to employment,” Mabinta said, “naiyak ako at napanghinaan ako ng loob nang malaman ko na ‘di pumabor sa akin ang desisyon, hindi ko alam kung bakit ganun, nasa tama naman ang pinaglalaban ko pero hindi ako nawawalan ng pag-asa dahil mananaig ang katotohanan.

(Ever since I graduated, I have worked only for GMA. From my on-the-job training to employment. I cried and felt discouraged when I learned that the decision did not favor me. I know that what I’m fighting for is right, which is why I’m wondering what happened. I’m not losing hope because I know the truth will come out.)

We urge the NLRC and Arbiter Marcos to review Mabinta’s case and see that she is no different from the 107 members that Arbiter Gayaman previously favored.

As a news website that prides itself with the tagline “Walang Kinikilingan, Walang Pinoprotektahan, Walang Kasinungalingan, Serbisyong Totoo Lamang” (Nothing is Favored, Nothing is Protected, No Lies, True Service Only), we call on GMA News Online to give us equal space as it did with the Network.

We encourage GMA News programs namely “24 Oras,” “Saksi,” “Unang Balita,” “State of the Nation with Jessica Soho,” “News to Go,” “Balitanghali,” “Balita Pilipinas Ngayon” and “GMA News TV Quick Response Team” to do what GMA News Online could not—seek our side if they are going to air this story.

Otherwise, they are betraying not only the Network’s own branding, but the values and principles of journalism itself.

#TAG11 #NOtoHARASSMENT #LabanMedia #BuhayMedia

Follow us on Twitter/Instagram (@buhaymedia), YouTube (youtube.com/buhaymediaph) and like our Facebook page (facebook.com/buhaymedia) to show your support.

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[Analysis] PART 1: GMA’s arguments why TAG members are not regular employees

[Analysis] PART 1: GMA’s arguments why TAG members are not regular employees

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