Vice President Leni Robredo
MANILA, Philippines — After ABS-CBN’s application for a new franchise was again denied by the House of Representatives, Vice President Leni Robredo had some advice for Filipinos frustrated by the lawmakers’ decisions: Remember their names and make them accountable.
According to the Vice President, the move from the lawmakers — specifically of the 70 who voted to adopt a technical working group (TWG) report to deny ABS-CBN its franchise at the committee level — would drive the public to think wisely of their decisions.
“Idinidiin ng denial ng prangkisa ng ABS-CBN ang aral: Our choice of leaders matters. Mahalagang pumili ng mga pinunong tunay sa sumasalamin sa ating mga adhikain at prinsipyo,” Robredo said in a statement.
“Kaya’t tandaan natin ang nga pangalan ng kongresista at opisyal na tumaliwas sa ating mga paniniwala upang mapanagot sila gamit ang mga prosesong pangdemokrasya; tandaan din natin ang mga kahanay natin, upang maisulong at bigyang-lakas pa ang mga tulad nila,” she added.
And for the lawmakers who refrained from granting ABS-CBN’s franchise, she gave a stern reminder:
“Malinaw ang mga aral ng kasaysayan: May kabayaran ang bawat pagmamalabis. May hangganan ang anumang paniniil. Darating ang araw ng pagtubos, at magbubukal ito sa atin mismo,” Robredo explained.
“Kailangan nating patuloy na manalig, magbuklod, at pumalag. Bawat pahayag, bawat pagkilos ngayon ay may ambag sa mahabang proseso upang maabot ang lipunang tunay na malaya at makatao,” she noted.
Earlier, the House panel junked the franchise application of ABS-CBN after the 70 lawmakers’ move to adopt the TWG. At least 11 lawmakers voted against the report, while two inhibited and one abstained.
Robredo said that this would have an adverse impact on the editorial decisions of other media outlets, since it seems that those opposing government policies are deemed enemies of the state.
“Ang mensahe: Kapag hindi tayo sumang-ayon nang buong-buo sa kanila, kalaban nila tayong ituturing,” she said.
According to Robredo, ABS-CBN should be operating right now as the delivery of information is important as the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging.
But aside from that, the pandemic would also make it hard for employees who might be affected by the continuous shutdown of the network — especially after ABS-CBN officials have already admitted before that they may start laying off workers by August if operations remain suspended.
“Nakakalungkot isipin ang landas na piniling tahakin ng Kamara, imbes na pagtuonan ang pagbabantay sa maayos na implementasyon ng mga programa laban sa COVID,” she claimed.
“Ang hirap tanggapin na lahat ng ito ay nangyayari habang lahat tayo’y nakikipagbuno pa rin sa hirap at pangambang dulot ng COVID-19. Solusyon sa pandemya, sa pagkawala ng trabaho, at sa gutom ang hinihiling ng Pilipino. Pero pananakot, pagbawi ng kalayaan, at dagdag na panggigipit ang pilit sa ating ihinahain,” she added.
Recently, House speaker Alan Peter Cayetano criticized Robredo for implying that Congress was not working, saying that they have done a lot of legislations geared towards the COVID-19 response. Cayetano was reacting to the Vice President’s statements that the House should focus on caring for health workers instead of other things.’
ABS-CBN’s free television and radio broadcasts remain shut after the National Telecommunications Commission issued a cease and desist order against the network, after its previous franchise expired last May 4.
NTC’s order came despite previous pronouncements in front of Congress last February that ABS-CBN would continue operating. [ac]
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