MANILA — Expressions of solidarity with ABS-CBN continue to pour in, the latest from pillars of the entertainment industry, National Artists, network veterans and other showbiz sectors.
Music icon Pilita Corrales told ABS-CBN News that she never imagined the closure of the station twice in her lifetime, the first in 1972 on the declaration of martial law, and 48 years later with the closure order of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).
Corrales’s long-running show, “An Evening with Pilita,” was one of the benchmark achievements of ABS-CBN.
What bothers Corrales is the disenfranchisement of many televiewers of news and entertainment in the middle of lockdown due to the pandemic. The majority of these viewers are not on the internet where ABS-CBN continues with its news platforms.
“It is not right and not fair to do this to ABS-CBN at this time when people need news, information and assistance. It’s terrible!” Corrales said.
Long-time rivals Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos had also previously expressed their concern for the network which built their career in the late '60s and early '70s.
“Maraming mga empleyado ng kumpanya ang mawawalan ng trabaho at kawawa ang kanilang pamilya na umaasa lang sa network. Sana hindi ito nangyari sa panahong dumadaan tayo sa krisis dulot ng COVID-19,” Aunor said in her statement.
In her instagram account, Santos said she was positive that the network will make a comeback. The Lipa City representative also told ABS-CBN News that she hoped that President Rodrigo Duterte will reverse the decision of NTC.
Veteran producer and showbiz icon Marichu Maceda expressed outrage at the shutdown which she said deprived the needs of the citizenry and further isolated the masses amid the crisis.
“It breaks my heart that the people's voice has been ignored. In this time of deep anxiety, we need all media outlets to keep us informed about the pandemic. Entertainment is also important while in lockdown. With the closure of ABS CBN, we are left with one less source of reassurance and diversion. I feel that we have become second-class citizens in our country!” Maceda said.
Film studios Regal and VIVA Entertainment also expressed solidarity with ABS-CBN, along with the media showbiz group Society of Philippine Entertainment Editors (SPEEd) and Professional Artists Managers Inc. (PAMI) which regularly provides the services of their actors and talents in various Kapamilya shows.
Gloria Diaz cited the dignified farewell of ABS-CBN top management last Tuesday. The first Filipina Miss Universe said it was like deja vu going through the same experience during martial law.
“I am sad but I am not shocked . I am confident that ABS-CBN will
reopen and it will be even better! It will all work out probably with the right compromise and adjustments,” Diaz shared.
National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes is also dismayed by the shutdown. Reyes, along with National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab, had been working at rehearsals with the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra for the restaging of their iconic musical “Rama Hari,” before the lockdown.
"It’s terrible, I’ve always been for a free press! It always keeps us honest and informed," Reyes told ABS-CBN News. "How do you go about life, making decisions without it? We are all citizens and stakeholders in our democracy.”
Meantime, Cayabyab has faith that there will soon be a turnaround in the crisis.
“As sure as rain comes after a long drought ABS-CBN will surely rise again. It is a Filipino institution we are proud of. It is part of our history and has contributed much to all the facets of our lives as Filipinos. Truly, Mabuhay ka, ABS-CBN!” Cayabyab said in a statement.