Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts
Volume 3, Number 21 June 29 - July 5, 2003 Quezon City, Philippines
Leyte Broadcasters: From Telling News to Making News
Tacloban City’s Bombo radio broadcasters just wanted to tell management they have formed their union. They got an immediate response: the station was shut down on the same day. The broadcasters and other station workers now work odd jobs to support themselves and their families. But they still man their picketline while awaiting the decision on the labor case they filed against management with the NLRC.
The radio may be seen by many Filipinos as a venue to air some grievances. But radio broadcasters especially those in the provinces have their own woes too – more so when they begin to speak up for their own rights.
four months now, broadcasters and media workers from DYWR Bombo Radyo-Tacloban
in Leyte central Philippines have been struggling against illegal lockout,
illegal termination and union busting.
by Rogelio Florente Sr., Bombo Radyo-Tacloban was closed down on March 12 due to
“huge financial losses.” The
management said that for five years, there had been a downtrend in the
Amistoso, president of Bombo Radyo Tacloban Employees Union, believes otherwise.
an interview with Bulatlat.com over the weekend in Manila, Amistoso related that
on March 12, around 10 a.m, he sent a letter to the management introducing the
union they formed a month earlier. At
11:30 a.m., all employees received a notice of termination. Later that day, the
management declared the closure of the AM station.
said they were caught by surprise with the drastic moves taken by management.
But the radio workers decided to fight.
that same day, all members of the union set up their picketline in front of the
station. Of 43 employees, the union has 28 members.
union leader complained that no financial statement was shown to explain the
sudden closure of the station.
believes the management just doesn’t want to recognize their union. “We had
not yet even presented our demands,” he says.
union filed cases of illegal lockout, illegal termination, union busting and
unpaid salaries before the National Labor Relations Commission in Region VIII.
union is the first to be established in any Bombo Radyo station. It is also the only union of media workers existing in the
what compelled them to form the union, Amistoso cited many issues: no benefits,
drama talents not recognized as regular employees and low salaries. A reporter
gets P5,000-P5,800 per month; anchors usually get P6,000, he said.
went on:“We did what we are preaching. We can protect the rights of others kaya
sa mga kasong kami na ang numero unong biktima, nakakahiya kung wala kaming
gagawin (in cases where we are
the number one victims, it is a shame if we don’t do anything).”
admitted however the difficulty of sustaining the picketline. “During our first month, full force kami (we were on
full force). On the second month, I
asked the union members to allot three days for the picketline, two days to look
for source of income. On our third
month until now, we have a skeletal force.
Anim na araw para maghanapbuhay, isang araw sa picketline (Six
days to earn a living, one day for the picketline).”
said some union members are breadwinners. “Just
to survive, may nag-driver, yung iba nag-sideline sa ibang media-related
work, yung iba pa, may maliit na negosyo (one works as a driver, others work
part-time in other networks, others go into small business).”
union leader said the support of their listeners is shown in their hostility
toward Bombo Radyo’s promo. Before the AM station closed, entries for Star
Bonanza Na, Bombo Nanza Pa reached P50,000-P70,000 in one week.
These days, there is an average of P1,000 entries per week, he said.
said the support of other cause-oriented groups also helped them maintain their
picketline. Members of Kilusang Mayo Uno, Anakbayan and College Editors Guild of
the Philippines are regular visitors in their picketline.
din sila tulad namin (Like us, they are also being beaten up),” Amistoso
said, referring to violent dispersals by the security guards. “There had been
many attempts (to dismantle the picketline).
The management has hired about 100 security guards,” Amistoso said.
management filed criminal cases against the workers. Serious physical injury was filed against four workers and
grave coercion against 11 union members.
Amistoso said their union is determined to continue the fight. He said that if they win this case, their colleagues in other stations and media networks will be emboldened to form their own union. Bulatlat.com