“No matter what you’re going through, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it may seem hard to get to it but you can do it and just keep working towards it and you’ll find the positive side of things.” Demi Lovato
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — Just like death row inmates, employees of GMA television network in Iloilo were given food and entertainment before being herded to the gallows.
Less than two weeks after sending Alden Richards of the AlDub fame in Iloilo City, the GMA television network sent some 20 Iloilo employees packing.
The recent round of retrenchment dissolved the “Ratsada 24 Oras” and trimmed down the effervescent media outlet into a satellite sales office.
Like in the previous “belt-tightening” measures in April this year where 37 employees in the entire Visayas were zapped, most of those affected, including production staff, cameramen and field reporters, were caught flat-footed.
In his Facebook account, lawyer Jobert Penaflorida, co-host of “Ratsada 24 Oras” confirmed the splitsville, but emphasizing that “the best is yet to come.”
“Last Friday, November 13, three days after my one-year contract with GMA ended, Ratsada 24 Oras aired its last newscast.
“I feel for the hardworking men and women who have spent their best years to build a strong and solid news program.
“But I feel blessed and privileged to have been part of the longest-running news program in Iloilo. 16 years is no mean feat.
“I take this opportunity to thank everyone in GMA Network for this kind opportunity and for warmly accepting me as one of their own.
“I was already happy with my ‘early’ retirement from media in 2013 when GMA surprisingly invited me to join its team.
“Short but sweet. I cherish my experience in Ratsada 24 Oras. Pleasant. Enriching. Heartwarming.”
He added: “I thank my bosses and everyone I worked with, especially Rexcel John Billones Sorza and Gerthrode Charlotte Tan-Mabilog for all the kindness and the help. The news and engineering people, with special mention to my director and my cameraman.
“I ask the Lord why the need for a one-year ‘detour’ in my own personal journey. The answer is clear: the opportunity to meet these kind, genuine and generous human beings.
“Our respective journey continues. Our roads will certainly intertwine in more ways than one. As my own experience has shown me, there are no goodbyes. The best is yet to come! Salamat gid, mga Kapuso! I am proud I am one.”
Co-host, Gerthrode Charlotte Tan-Mabilog, also bade goodbye in her Facebook account, saying she was “deeply grateful. The Lord is truly good!”:
“Doing the newscast for the past 13 years has been one of my greatest joys in life. GMA opened doors for me to meet and build relationships with people, visit places I never deemed possible in one lifetime, and collect meaningful learnings I will carry with me everywhere I go. For all of these, I am deeply grateful. The Lord is truly good!
“Today (Nov. 16), I bid you farewell. Thank you for supporting me and Ratsada for so many years. Thank you for making me a part of your homes for over a decade. It has been such a pleasure doing this service for Western Visayas.
“Thank you to my bosses Jo Tadeo Marcelo Cel Atega Rosales Amores Lee Escudero, Jonathan Cabillon, Marissa Flores, and Jet Orbida for this priceless opportunity. This is Gerthrode Charlotte Tan, signing off.”
Rexcel John Billones Sorza, a production boss, thanked their supporters: “Thank you everyone. Your comforting words kept us strong as we embraced a painful reality. See you around.”