by: Edgar O. Cruz | STIR Editor In Chief
“There is no truth to that,” ABS-CBN Corporate Communications Head Bong Osorio tells STIR about the mass resignation buzz of ABS-CBN creative writers to GMA-7.
Wrongly termed as it is not a one-time quitting from their work but one after the other, it started with the transfer of Jake Tordesillas. The latest to give notice is award-winning scriptwriter of “Magnifico” and Äng Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros” Michiko Yamamoto who followed film and television writer icon Ricky Lee. STIR recently scooped Ricky’s resignation from his corporate work at ABS-CBN to be able to pursue personal projects such as finishing his second novel.
For her part, Michiko allegedly resigned after being mistreated such as receiving low salary for a writer of her caliber. She also got second billing to an unknown writer in “Nagsimula sa Puso.” The buzz is she was told by a wannabee headwriter that she’s too indie-minded and doesn’t know how to write kilig scenes. Michiko sent feelers to GMA which readily and quickly grabbed the opportunity to sign her up in its fold.
If there’s a big transfer of ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs personnel such as Luchi Cruz Valdez, Jude Sta. Ana and Cheryl Cosim to Manny Pangilinan’s refocused TV-5, there is a similar transfer of ABS creative consultants and headwriters in GMA like Jake, Agnes Gagelonia, Keiko Aquino, Aloy Adlawan, Senedy Que, & now Michiko. More are expected to follow.
Why such transfer? The buzz is ABS-CBN continues to treat the secret weapons of their drama success shabbily. The shocking revelation is that they were made them go through months of developing shows and/or series without or very minimal pay!
When asked who are involved, STIR’s squealer said, “Di ang mga bosing na slave drivers who put up that system! Sila yumayaman. Writers (are) hungry. Nangungutang pa! This floodgate is bound to happen. With TV5, baka wala nang matira sa kanila!”
When pressed for specific names, the squealer did not budge, “Lahat ng decisionmakers nila, from business unit heads and up. Dami nila sa hierarchy.”
ABS-CBN it seems is at a lost of what to do! Allegedly, it has gone to the extent of accusing Jake of unethically recruiting ABS-CBN writers. The buzz is they are now signing up writers with P50,000 to P70,000 retainers but the trouble is not all are biting!
It’s clear they are not happy with the treatment and compensation they have been getting from ABS-CBN. If they were, the Law of Demand and Supply will not be operational; they will hold on. But the issue is there’s a problem with the system. While they toil like slaves, only the few gods overlooking the creative pool benefit!
Here’s another revelation from STIR’s squealer. This system allegedly caused directly or indirectly the death director Gilbert Perez due to overfatigue from back-to-back 24-hour tapings. Gilbert passed on at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Sept. 2008 after he suffered heart attack while megging Jericho Rosales and Carmen Soo’s “A Time For Us.”
There’s also Galo Ador who allegedly for seven months of work got only salary for three weeks before his project “Panday” finally went on air. There is also this unidentified writer who was allegedly sent to the set at 2am and died in his way. The list goes on.
Allegedly, the system works this way: Poor writer gets a show. He develops a 13-week storyline termed as “latag.” He goes through as many as 12 drafts (“And that’s the average!”) until headwriter is “hapi.” Then he has to please the egoistic director. There are times the director comments down to a word in the dialogue! They have developed such reputation for unreasonable attention to details! Then, the writer has to present to a panel of eight “heads” who end up having different opinions. And that’s only halfway through.
“Habang May Buhay,” the Judy Ann Santos and Drek Ramsey starrer which pilots tonight, took three years to make! If the people behind the project are asked, they will tell how inhumane the working conditions were. They were able to come up with a good series but the squealer asks, “Makatao ba sila? Kapamilya ba talaga turing nila sa writers?!”
When asked why open the issue to STIR, the squealer explained, “Para mas umayos na treatment nila sa writers from here on. Can you imagine, THE Ricky Lee? For him to finally resign, ang dami niya munang tiniis dyan.”
When pressed for the mass transfer’s specific cause, the squealer revealed, “Basta higher salary with much better working conditions and atmosphere. Yun naman talaga mas importante. Ang tratuhin ka ng tama at hindi yung by the time you write your 12th draft, feeling mo, ang bobo bobo mo na at sila lang ang magaling!”
When asked to comment regarding Ricky and Michiko, Bong replied, “I am not privy to the Michiko and Ricky actions. Let me check.”
STIR welcomes the side of ABS-CBN regarding this issue.