Ahead of the hearing for ABS-CBN’s franchise, the broadcasting company’s employees and supporters held a protest at the Batang Pambansa Complex to express their support for the renewal of the network’s franchise.
Employees who attended the protest explained that they are now fighting to keep their jobs. Prior to this, ABS-CBN’s officials claimed that, should the network be barred from operating, 11,000 people will be unemployed.
“Alam namin na ang kumpanya makakasurvive pero kaming mga empleyado na umaasa sa ABS-CBN, ito yung bread and butter namin. Sana man lang pakinggan yung aming pakusap,” Raul de Asis, technical head of ABS-CBN’s studio technical engineering, said in an interview.
Solons who support the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise also urged their colleagues to vote based on their conscience. Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Arlene Brosas asked her fellow lawmakers to put themselves in the shoes of citizens who will be affected by the non-renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise.
“Patuloy na pinagkakait ang hiling na mass testing kahit lagpas 50,000 na ang COVID-19 cases. Marami pa rin ang pinagkakaitan ng second tranche ng ayuda. Yun ba namang balita at impormasyon, ipagkakait din natin?” Brosas said during the Kapihan ng Samahang Plaridel media forum.
Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez added that voting against the network’s franchise renewal is a vote against press freedom in the country. “Vote of conscience so that we will be voting for the 11,000 employees of ABS-CBN and a vote for the people’s rights to information. We should vote on truth, on principle,” the representative said.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri also urged his colleagues to vote for ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal, stressing that personal issues against the network should not affect their decisions.
“I, too, have had my share of disappointments and disagreements with ABS-CBN like the non-airing of my political ads but I would never have wished for them to shut down,” he said.
Following a series of hearings that tackled issues like the citizenship of ABS-CBN’s chair emeritus Gabby Lopez, the Lopez family’s reclaiming of the network after the EDSA revolution, labor and tax-related violations, House lawmakers are set to vote on the network’s bid for a franchise.
Header photo by Grig C. Montegrande of Inquirer.net
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Writer: ANGELA PATRICIA SUACILLO