DAVAO CITY – Striking broadcasters and radio workers here said the management of Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) sent out alleged illegal broadcasts since October 3 despite the union strike and appealed to government intervention the continued broadcast from what they claimed was the use of an unlicensed facility.
Gina Hitgano, chairperson of the RMN Davao Employees Union (RDEU) said the union would seek a “cease and desist” order for the alleged ongoing “illegal broadcast” by the company management while their labor strike is going on.
“We don’t know where they are broadcasting from but definitely it is not from the main office,” said Hitgano.
Hitgano said the management might be using a Studio to Transmitter Link (STL) “not registered with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).”
She said they already set-up protest camps at the two transmitters and main broadcast office of RMN Davao in downtown Davao City last October 2 but the union had monitored a broadcast sent out by the RMN management on October 3.
“Rules on strike say the company management cannot bring out equipment during a strike, that is why we are filing this case before the NTC,” she said.
In a telephone interview, Annie Fernandez of NTC XI Legal Department said that it has no jurisdiction over labor cases, including the alleged illegal broadcast activities of the RMN management adding that its role is in “power station and radio station licensing”.
“We can only act if they have a formal complaint filed before our office but if they want to stop the broadcast they must file before our national office and they will decide en banc,” said Fernandez.
He said his office would only ensure that a station had complied with all requirements and to register all equipments like antennas and transmitters. “They should also only use their designated frequency,” said Fernandez.
Romualdo Basilio of the labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First Movement), which RDEU is a member, the “illegal broadcast is a runaway shop” in labor parlance.
“It is when a company management transfers operation to another area in a strike to continue production,” said Basilio.
Basilio said the classic example of a “runaway shop” in Davao Region is in the banana areas.
“For example, a banana company, transfers the packing operations to another plant to avert the strike. But it is legal to still conduct the strike in that area,” he said.
With regards the RDEU strike, Basilio said “it is the same.”
“The management is now broadcasting outside their station to avert the strike,” said Basilio.
While they are set to file their complaint, Hitgano said they “don’t expect that the NTC will decide with urgency.”
“It is in our own unity and support from other groups that we are pinning our hopes on,” she said. (John Rizle L. Saligumba/davaotoday.com)