Last Monday, February 10, Duterte administration lawyer Solicitor General Jose Calida moved to revoke the existing franchise of ABS-CBN Corporation, one of the Philippines’ leading broadcast networks. The accusation was that the Corporation and its subsidiary, ABS-CBN Convergence Inc., has allegedly violated certain rules from the Congress in its operating franchise set to expire in March.
Many believe that this is another form of bullying by the Duterte administration — remember when he tried to have Rappler shut down too? Rappler and ABS-CBN haven’t exactly been his allies, with the latter failing to air his presidential campaign advertisements in 2016. This blatant attempt to silence press freedom was described via The New York Times by political scientist Richard Javad Heydarian as containing “elements of Putinism,” as in Russia’s president, Vladimir P. Putin who is infamous for exactly that.
Guys, while we’re making noise on the Oscars, the Duterte government just asked our Supreme Court to void the franchise of the biggest pillar in our own entertainment and media industry, ABS-CBN. 1/6https://t.co/55rj5G0x5j
— Rambo Talabong (@ramboreports) February 10, 2020
The news of ABS-CBN’s impending shutdown hasn’t gone down well with media outlets and even netizens. Thousands rushed to express their anger, hundreds conducted rallies, and even prominent personalities and celebrities have stepped up to denounce these developments. Here’s why.
People will be losing their jobs
Sen. Binay believes her family hasn’t been treated well by ABS-CBN, but she will vote for its franchise renewal if it reaches the Senate “because it’s not about me.” | @LeilasINQ
— Inquirer (@inquirerdotnet) February 11, 2020
Say what you want to say about Nancy Binay when she pulls her pa-cute emoji faces, but she’s actually one of the most objective and unbiased senators we currently have. What a plot twist.
This admin is reusing a favorite move: filing quo warranto to silence critics like it did with CJ Sereno. When the Court opened the quo warranto door then, this admin got a new weapon to stifle our freedoms—and it’s using it against ABSCBN now. Who’s next? https://t.co/dJntos8J5H
— Chel Diokno (@ChelDiokno) February 10, 2020
Needless to say, this government is a mess. Those in position who haven’t cast their lot in the current administration better watch their backs.
One in the media industry
Magkaiba man ng bakod, we are one in the media industry. We have one love for the many talents and crafts under this Network, the products and output of which, directly or indirectly, benefit the lives of millions of Filipinos.
— Dingdong Dantes (@dingdongdantes) February 11, 2020
Dingdong Dantes, a GMA Network talent, voiced valid points on his post, clearly supporting ABS-CBN through this ordeal. A new meaning to DDS is born: Dingdong Dantes Supporter.
In the service of the Filipino worldwide
Many Kapamilya (ABS-CBN talents) expressed their own dismay and hopes that everything will be resolved in the end.
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I have been with abs cbn ever since they re opened. I am proud to say I have seen with my own eyes how they keep this country informed protected and entertained. They make sure we know what is happening when it’s happening and why. When we need to smile we are there. When we need to laugh we are there. When we need to cry we are there and when we need to take cover we are most definitely there. To see colored bars in place of regular programming is for me impossible to even imagine. How about you? I love abs cbn and I would be nothing without them. I stand behind every hard working employee on every floor of this winning television station . Being always in the lead carries great responsibility and always attracts controversy. So here we are. Solid and true. In the service of the Filipino Worldwide! #kapamilya #abscbn #WagIsaraangabscbn #notoabscbnshutdown
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Always ❤️ From the time I have been with ABS-CBN I have witnessed how they have always been in the service of the Filipino… providing jobs in which creativity and talent have touched peoples lives through television, helping in times of need and entertaining viewers across the globe every single day. I pray that everything works out for the best. Stay strong Kapamilya.
Monopolizing the media?
DUTERTE DOESN’T HATE OLIGARCHS. He just hates those, who refuse to do his bidding.
So, he took the defiant Lopezes out & canceled ABS-CBN’s franchise, in order to make way for a new breed of loyal oligarchs, who can now gain monopoly of the media industry.
— Francis Baraan IV (@MrFrankBaraan) February 10, 2020
Political blogger Francis Baraan IV calls out the administration’s apparent plans to control the voice of the media by kicking out those who oppose it.
Even GMA subtly backed the other network up
24 Oras hosts Pia Arcanghel, Vicky Morales, and Atom Araullo are wearing ABS-CBN colors for tonight’s broadcast. pic.twitter.com/iQQK6H60nt
— (@krizzy_kalerqui) February 11, 2020
Kapuso? Kapamilya? At the end of the day, we’re all Filipinos who demand the truth, press freedom, freedom of information, and democracy.
The call to defend press freedom
I strongly stand with my fellow journalists at ABS-CBN whom I respectfully admired. #DefendPressFreedom https://t.co/bIgfCHZ1SL
— JP Soriano (@jpsoriano) February 11, 2020
Thank you, brothers and sisters in the struggle to #DefendPressFreedom. Too many to mention, but you know who you are.
— Lynda Jumilla-Abalos (@lyndajumilla) February 10, 2020
“The morning will come again
No darkness, no season is eternal” pic.twitter.com/2LFJ9dar3g
— Jeff Canoy (@jeffcanoy) February 11, 2020
Reporters and journalists from both ABS-CBN and GMA News likewise expressed their support for ABS-CBN Corporation. After all, no matter what network they’re in, they have the same purpose: to deliver the truth.
ABS-CBN had indeed brought joy for decades
Ikalulungkot ng higit na nakararaming Pilipino sa Pilipinas at sa buong mundo kung isasara ang ABS-CBN. #NoToABSCBNShutDown
— jose marie viceral (@vicegandako) February 10, 2020
If the move to shut it down succeeds, ABS-CBN will be a huge loss for Philippine media. Throughout the years it has produced top-notch entertainment and have become one of the country’s pillars for news. But no matter what tomorrow might bring, one thing is for sure: this administration is shedding followers day by day and in 3 years time, the Filipino people will have to decide for a leader again. Hopefully this time we get a better one.
what if the govt just want to cut ang probinsyano,,,and it looks like ending abs cbn franchise is the only way to do it????
— Crap Bag (@aaroninfante_) February 11, 2020
Are you for or against the ABS-CBN franchise shutdown? Sound off in the comments below!