MANILA — Admittedly he was at first afraid to speak out on the forced shutdown of his home network ABS-CBN, which has resulted in thousands of workers being laid off. But Joseph Marco on Tuesday said he has since come to realize that the issue is “beyond me.”
On Instagram, Marco explained that he had avoided addressing the topic on social media to protect his mental health, until he saw firsthand how the move to kill ABS-CBN’s franchise has cost the livelihood of many in the middle of a pandemic.
“Over the past few weeks, I have been trying to come up with the right words to encapsulate how I feel about everything going on,” Marco wrote, sharing a photo of a recent noise barrage protesting the Duterte administration’s closure of ABS-CBN. “I admit it took time because part of me was afraid to speak up and part of me felt like not speaking up was a way for me to preserve my mental and emotional state.”
“But a few days ago, when we attended the noise barrage, I realized that what is going on is beyond me. Thousands have lost their jobs because of a personal vendetta and that is not something I can stand by. This lapse in judgment and display of power is something we all did not deserve.”
Despite several government agencies clearing ABS-CBN of supposed violations — from labor practices to broadcasting — the House committee on legislative franchises voted, 70-11, to deny the franchise application of the network, shuttering it for good.
After the decision, President Rodrigo Duterte, who had repeatedly vowed to put ABS-CBN off air, claimed he has “dismantled” oligarchy in the Philippines. Unedited audio of his speech referred specifically to the Kapamilya network.
The halt of ABS-CBN’s radio and free-TV broadcast has forced the retrenchment of thousands of employees and entire units, among them Marco’s own co-workers in the entertainment production arm of the network.
Marco, 31, has been a Kapamilya artist since 2010.
“I pray that our public servants get the clarity they need and I look forward to the day that our network rises again,” Marco said. “I am one with all the ABS-CBN employees and all the Kapamilyas. And I understand now that we need to speak up because if we don’t call people out for doing us wrong, who else will?”