On May 5, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered ABS-CBN to cease and desist operations. This ruling, issued in the middle of a global crisis, compromises the welfare of the vast majority of Filipinos, and is a distasteful attack against press freedom.
At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has left a devastating impact on the economy, the last thing we need are more starving families due to rising unemployment. The shutdown places more than 11,000 employees of ABS-CBN at risk of losing their jobs and their primary sources of income.
Moreover, diminished access to verified information during a pandemic makes it harder for us to save lives. The shutting down of ABS-CBN leaves many Filipinos in the dark, especially that many of them still rely on free television and radio for news.
Kaya Natin! Movement stands with ABS-CBN and all other media institutions at the forefront in the fight for truth, accountability, and transparency. We strongly condemn this attempt to intimidate the press, especially when many of our media practitioners have been in the frontlines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
We call on our lawmakers to immediately approve the ABS-CBN franchise and allow it to resume its operation. The attack against press freedom does not help us in mitigating the virus; our priority must be the welfare of all Filipinos and supporting the employment for thousands and access to information for millions is part of that.
We urge the administration to focus all its efforts to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. If indeed we are to Heal as One, it is time to set aside divisive politics and work together 'in the service of the Filipino'.