An ABS-CBN employee is filled with emotion as workers and artists rally outside the TV station’s compound in Quezon City after a House committee voted to deny the network a franchise yesterday.
MANILA, Philippines — Following ABS-CBN’s announcement that it would be retrenching its workers starting August 31, Sen. Risa Hontiveros slammed the government for endangering the jobs of at least 11,000 workers instead of working to end the novel coronavirus crisis.
An overwhelming 70 legislators at the House of Representatives on June 10 followed through President Rodrigo Duterte’s threats to shut down ABS-CBN, voting to deny the network a new franchise.
Hontiveros pointed out that it is not just the workers of ABS-CBN who stand to lose their livelihood as a result of the House vote, saying in Filipino that “this [11,000] does not even include the tricycle drivers, eatery workers, vendors and other businesses along Mother Ignacia [Avenue],” where the network is headquartered.
Hontiveros also condemned Duterte and House Speaker Alan Cayetano’s claims that they unseated the oligarchy by denying the Lopez-owned network’s franchise bid.
“It’s not true that the oligarchy has been dismantled. What has been dismantled are the lives of ordinary workers. We should be solving the crisis right now instead of adding to it,” she said in Filipino.
Oligarchs, originally a Russian term, refers to a small group of people in control of a country or government.
Three of the Duterte’s children currently hold elected positions as congressman, mayor and vice mayor of Davao City.
Meanwhile, the president’s former running mate and politcal ally, Cayetano has three relatives in elected office as well: his wife is a congresswoman for a separate legislative district, his sister is a senator and his brother is mayor of Taguig.
Congress’ decision to carry out the president’s long-running threats to shutdown the network runs counter to a recent Social Weather Stations survey that found that an overwhelming majority of Filipinos support its franchise bid while more than half viewed its non-renewal as an attack on press freedom.
“Dati rin ako sa media. Pero higit pa dito, ako’y Pilipino na nakikiisa sa mga kapwa ko Pilipinong nalulungkot, nagdadalamhati, at natatakot sa kung ano’ng hatid ng bukas. (I used to work in the media. But more than that, I’m a Filipino united with other Filipinos who are upset, distraught and afraid of what tomorrow might bring),” Hontiveros said.